Morning Portrait, 8800′
Strong, slight sundressed girl, all sinew, all arms and legs,
steps from the den of cool last night, sweat and woodsmoke,
dawnlit, shoeless, wincing into sub-alpine August;
She squints, fidgits, runs fingers through thick twists,
tangles of gold from straw and
squares rope over bone shoulders towards the east.
She is twenty-three years old, a woman rubbing sleep from her eyes,
calming morning medusa-strands with a plain ragged ribbon.
She wears freckles, no paint:
No hips to speak of, can’t do without a belt;
a thumb to forefinger encircles her wrist,
you can read her collarbone from a mile off.
Yet those shoulders lugged sixty pounds,
twig figure legs, quick on the slopes,
laughed at switchbacks, through scratching, fragrant sagebrush,
gold splash mules ears, lodgepole, aspen,
and rock to get up here.
She can work
the red handled pump
with one slim arm,
strength is all angles.
she bends to caress blue columbine,
straightens, shuffles, wrinkles toes in dirt and pebbles.
bats an eyelash, strikes a blue tip on the door jamb,
sweeping arc to spark to flame,
a hand cuppped against the breeze,
lights her cigarette.
Still a work in progress, I did about 17 drafts of this back in the day, with at least one more to come. Probably many more.