Patricia Thrushart addresses herself to the rock-face at hand in her poem “Bouldering,” from the just-published issue of Deep Wild: Writing from the Backcountry.

Your breath, your heartbeat
quicken,
the boulder you chose
— or did it choose you?—
fractured
by freeze and thaw,
tumbled by time
to squat here,
its crevices
waiting.
You study its secrets,
height and bulge,
the mossiness of it,
the rootless lichens,
the snakelike roots of small trees
tangled like lovers,
the old pitted sandstone skin
you expect will be cold,
but is dry, warm,
even in shadow.
It awaits your hands
ready to caress,
to probe,
dusted
with desire.

Deep Wild Journal is the home for creative work inspired by journeys to places where there are no roads. To learn more, and to order your copy, visit deepwildjournal.com.

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