Lois M. Harrod

Breccia

aaaaaaaaaaaarock consisting of angular fragments cemented together

Seeing her we remembered a stream
tricking below our mountain path,
water though unseen

we heard or thought we heard
when we stopped, a singing at the base
of the slope, voice light and spiky

as it leaped pebbles and jabbed
the air with its spiny chant,
needling us higher, we dragging so much

we thought necessary while the rivulet
twitched from stone to stone
like a mountain goat.

But now she too had grown heavy,
the rock-strewn glacier we were crossing,
where was her prickly litany?

She was moving like an old woman,
some ancient part of earth
that could not trickle to life,

Something we stumbled over, fell,
how could we have been so mistaken?
Rock did not give forth water nor water wine,

but how we had depended on it
as we climbed, believed she was
as benevolent as she seemed

this composite, this conglomerate
clastic and iconoclastic,
this quartz content of stone.

***

Moderate to Difficult

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafrequent trail description

Always the difficult first—
the climb to crest so rocky
the longest legs stretch and ache,
the short and short-sighted
stop to let their twitching hearts
rev down to a predictable purr
before they begin
hammering up again.

Then the crest—
not unlike the end
of a terrible love or long divorce
when the climber stops quaking
in the glacial rubble,
knows this time she will make it,

or the end of the depression
the hiker thought
he could not bypass or surmount,

or maybe the end of one
who turned back,
on her way to the river now,
the rocks she carried so many years
in her coat pocket¬—

and suddenly the body grows light again,
floats on out.

***

Lois Marie Harrod’s 16th and most recent collection Nightmares of the Minor Poet appeared in June 2016 from Five Oaks. And She Took the Heart  (Casa de Cinco Hermanas) appeared in January 2016, Fragments from the Biography of Nemesis (Cherry Grove Press) and the chapbook How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth (Dancing Girl Press) appeared in 2013. She has won several other awards.  she is widely published in literary journals and online ezines. She teaches Creative Writing at The College of New Jersey. Links to her online work at www.loismarieharrod.org

A Literary Magazine