This is discovery. It's evidence
of our big brains at work,
like the liability waiver we sign
about cougars before they let us hike.
At 8,000 feet, I'm forced to bend over.
Hands on knees, heart punching
my chest. These are places where,
in the dark, I trust the country road
ends somewhere, clean air to kill for.
Everything we do without permission
feels like theft: three small logs,
ash at the center of a triangle.
Someone etched a fire pit at the top
of the hill, a secret I've stumbled on.
It's property. Killer bees and snakes live here.
A rainshower of stars, night sky
soaked in light. Something postures far away
in the trees, just the wind hauling itself
in high altitude. There are shadows here, of course.
Unlike me, they're not afraid
to come back from the edge of the world
with not a thing to show for it.
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