Among the sand and shards
of these thin soil mountains
stretching themselves into hard air,
a dozen different blooms
share the space around the bases
of birch and aspen above Fremont Lake.
Something much like rose moss
bends its red stems upward,
petals pinched against the stalk,
balking in the cool morning air
and waiting for the stare of sun to open.
Along the run and rush
of a cold mountain stream in Snowy Pass,
seams of snow continue shrinking in the shadows,
feeding the plummet and plunge of pure water
tinged with winter’s ash
and the long, slow smolder of decay.
The meadow beside the creek teems with blooms:
yellows, whites, blues
and the strange black hue of small-petaled clusters
opening on limber stalks
beside lichen-splotched blocks of granite.
Three-inch ferns unfurl beneath the overhanging curl
of a sloping, scalloped drift beneath the spruces,
seeking their own uses beside rotting logs
in a meadow so rich with growth
that even the air smells green.
Whether in arid places or spaces of standing water,
things are made to grow,
to lift their burden of life to the sun,
and when they are done,
to plant themselves in the gift of dying.