Alan Soldofsky





We came to see how clear the light is
as it pours down from the summit, a blue
clean as melt water and white as
wind inside a thunderhead.

We didn’t come up here, where the road switches
back along the knife-edge of a ridge,
to see the sky darken and thin claws
of rain sag across the far mountains,

scraping splotches of old snow on Freel Peak,
on Mt. Tallac and Mt. Rose.
At least it’s not fire weather, there’s
a film of moisture on the windshield.

But also dry lightning, flicking
like a snake’s tongue overhead. Once
we watched these skies to observe grains of light,
by the hundreds, zipping across the darkness.

We can’t retrieve the past, though we can
peer through the windows. Though it’s noon,
we itch from a dozen mosquito bites. A barn
swallow darts down from a cedar limb

zigzagging in crooked circles, chirping
like a satellite. Then returns to the same
limb, flaring its electric V-shaped tail,
twittering, a mosquito in its beak.