The Highest Mountain

Thu, 11/12/2020 - 8:15am

For Kitty Fassett, My Writing Partner

I was invited to climb Mount Katadin (KADDN)

the holy spot

for Maine’s red paint people

where their God Glooskap dwells

it  was a lovely day

cool, just right for exercise

we had a comfortable ride

from Orono to the parking lot

at the base of the mountain

by the time we got to the trail up

to Chimney Pond

I was already winded

after a short pause

we started up over slabs of stone

tumbled like a graveyard

whose monuments

had been overturned

by juvenile delinquents

my companion, short and wiry

kept waiting for me

there were other hikers

including a woman

heavy with child

who easily passed me

along the unmarked passage

as I grew weaker and weaker

I almost stumbled

only to be mocked by a whiskey jack

finally 1,000 feet from the top

I said to my guide

I can go no further

so we turned and went down

as we passed the pond

we saw three bears

a mother and two cubs

foraging in the dump

paying us no mind

as we left them behind a female moose

came out ahead of us

and showed us to safety

in the parking lot

when we got in the car

I slumped down 

in the comfortable leather seat

exhausted and bone weary

today I prayed to my Baptist God 

though I am no longer religious

that the dead of Poland

killed by Russians, by Germans

rise up in spirit

rise up in flesh

I do not know if my appeal will work

for I am no God, no Jesus

just an old man in small town Maine

who loves Poland

whom others didn’t

maybe it will work, maybe it won’t

but thought it worth a try

for my friends

Catholics and Jews

soldiers, social workers and poets

People of the Book

people who love horses

was this the reason I was put on this Earth

I like to think it was

I have been called insane, a fool

been beaten, drugged

but here I am still writing

the words that come to mind

without revision

today God has made it

warm and sunny

I like to think he has done this

to welcome the dead back to life

get the chill out of their

grave-ridden flesh and bones

and be alive again


Kendall Merriam, Home, November 6-2020 12:00 PM (exactly)

Listening to silence.