by Christopher Raley For Graham
What am I leaving him, this kind-eyed boy with the golden crown? Stone tree on a stone head? Lifeless sanctity sheltering lifeless foundation? From distance in struggle who can tell? For that is not where we climb.
We rise from shrinking lake on aged paths and search our footing a feet on scattered stones. We lose the sky when bent and clutching and stagger like forefathers on the angle.
The monkey-ed face of the lava-ed crest glares across the canyon. Too close to see threats of gaze, we breach the chin and circle forehead.
His ancient mischief is a bliss to picking and scratching through hairless cracks in his stone boulder skull till the top where we at last must forget all ridicules for what we now behold.
And what am I to leave him, my kind-eyed boy with the golden crown, who pushes my lead and pulls my will: Not a stone tree, but a tree from stone—
steady and single at the height, in view of all yet blind to view—
whose bark a warmer gray than rock, whose branches a cover of arms, whose leaves a green over death.
It sprang from where soil settled in the faults of hazard.