http://www.albany.edu/offcourse
 
 

Two Poems by Ellen Reed
 
 
 

Carried Away

 
No moisture
In the old desert, a pathless shock
of vistas, a soundless drop
of thunder and spray
was a balled draft of the past
thrown long into the hot blue day.

The weather loom of a shut-in mind
a million sins shuttled through my hands
through the warp and weave of time.
A billion thoughts blown like rain
into a river their mist came.

A flood crashed the river bed
where I baked, wandered
kissed and pocketed fossils.  Cried.
I thought I died.  I didn't hear -
Dashed by the sudden river.

I had thought of other ways
to cross or follow such a river
like a sage in some book
or forge with covered wagons
or fall artlessly to drink
or just stand by it, painting,
or, running, hair on fire,
dive
in this river.
 
 
 
 

Last Wish
 
For my father I made something like a wall,
Only it kept on building.  Earth-wide, cloud-tall.
I'm scaling to measure how it ends,
Only a mountain cannot fall.
Made larger by scrutiny,
precious stones of self-defense
a baby's glittering battlements
now deep within the snow
I clasp each foothold listening
each rasp of air,
carves yet higher,
wishing the summit could be
a meeting place
knowing we've already met (I wept)
I was three.
can't breathe enough
to remember it.

Gentle Everest calls out
"go one handhold at a time"
the frozen fingering of its purpose
undoes mine,
and fools my tourist strength to climb.
Famished at God, I swear
I'll polish every notch of that curse I can see.
And once above that dazzling gall
snow-blind, relaxed as a doll,
I'll French-kiss the altitude with a smoother leap
than any trail you could blaze
with a screaming fall.


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