Root and sky,

I am a translator.
I possess sanctuary, the word;
looking for its missing parent

            the shadow of a weary family
                 dwells on the sinister face of the mountain.

Clouds have regained their stolen opacity.

The sun is a perfect circle

and silence.

            Hoof and wing,

the height where space travel becomes animal instinct.
The theory of constellations:
take a cosmic razor
to the horizon,
where the spoils of day,
free from the body,
–a word with no origin–
survive after dark in a dissolving blue

Unforgive, tear; skim the eye.
The star is not here to save you

                        it is merely the best burning
                        that exists outside the body.

A green fierce fights life for its life on this peak,
and a red ribbon, easy to fray, makes a case for restraint:

                        delicacy is what it takes to protect delicacy

What is a stone to the tower?

                        Heat to a fallen log?

            My skin smells like it’s just dried
                                          from jumping in a lake.

Our rainwater intellect:

                                                   petrichor? promontory?
                                       peak, peak, peak

It’s cold up here—

                                                                  I can’t say what the moon does—

the mountain
cannot achieve,

            triumphant gravesite belonging to no one.

                        I’m seeing the world, scarcely a thousand words
to give for one gradient of rock,
          a carcass,
a quest,

my dilating sense of grand.

I start eating the grass.

Photo by Timon Studler on Unsplash

Joe Gutesha

Joe Gutesha is a poet from Topanga Canyon, California. His work has been published in S-Curves and New York Magazine. He is currently at work on his first book of poetry, keeps a blog called Jlaudio’s Extraordinary Café, and is hatching short stories, plays, and an epic narrative about the origin of passionfruit.