Flat light in the basin
is a caution light on skis.
Fall line and balance
both disappeared. I pull
into an alpine grove
I’ve known for two decades
hiking during summer.
Tree wells safe.
No danger of snow collapsing.

I’ve been with Mary
all winter in these mountains.
The mother of Jesus.
Greatest of all the prophets.
Come from below and afraid.
No one knows what happened.
Was she raped, like
my Methodist friend says?
Could be. That makes
more sense than virgin birth.
Sons don’t ask mothers
those questions.
I don’t think Jesus did either.
Belief in virgin birth
has nothing to do with Jesus.

Here now. In these trees.
I’m new in these trees.
Lost in flat light.
Unborn and lost
in a moment of pure seeing.

Jim Bodeen
3 February 2014


Peanut butter sandwich
at High Camp, with hot instant
coffee from my pack. Chocolate
wrapped in cellophane crushed
and broken during snow
crossing, poured into my
mouth, delicious. Snow-precious
day. Snow now like rare metal.
That drought in California.
Those disappeared glaciers.
Clearing, like sun burning
away fog in late morning.
Snow storms in the east
on television news don’t
seem so reassuring in this light.
Wang Wei laughs across time
already in mountain retreat.
He says his poems
come from a person
he no longer knows.
Sitting at a table
in the grocery store coffee shop
down in the village
with my friend, he tells me
about two actors melting down guns.
I could go home now.
Get on my skis and go home,
but what’s the rush.

Jim Bodeen
31 January 2014

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