West

by Peggy O’Brien

I’d chased the sunrise so far east, I’d risen
With it, now west of any west I’d known,
Freshly mown hay, a baby’s flesh, that scent
On the edge, the wind a scythe, the grass as flat

As a monk at prayer.  I look down, towering, sheer,
My bold career soaring like that gull over there,
Where a goat picks his way down to the pounded base,
Shrewd hooves sticking to each chance protrusion,

Fishermen, all comely, one like Jesus, row me
To an island across a boiling, craggy strait.
Our ribbed, leaf-light, empty boat floats high, then sinks
To the gunwales with death in it. Puffins eye me.

Smoke rises from huddled hutches like breath in the cold.
It’s dusk at the base of a hill as bald as a crone,
Then golden tresses, molten ocean, the other
Side, the prairie at sunset, and all before me.