My sister calls and says
she can meet me on the mountain,
gives me a choice of days.
I say, You choose,
and she says tomorrow.

Memorial week on the Mountain
and my sister comes to ski with me.
Seven years ago this week,
my wife and I on our way
over the pass to see Tyler
before surgery, when the phone call comes
telling us to turn around.

We’re driving, still in the car,
and my sister tells us,
Turn around and go home.
Seven years ago.
Time moving faster
than we can track it.
Time slowing us
until we’re paralyzed.

I came here to the mountain
before it closed. That sunny day,
that one. In the Patrol shack
I’m given permission to sweep
the mountain, patrolman asking
for clarification, He died today?
Don’t leave anyone in the trees.

New snow combines with wind
and temperature stays cold.
Sastrugi is changing snow sculpture
in micro second fragments
when the sun comes out
No focusing of the camera
Guess work art works like this,
Who can work the fastest camera.
We are given just seconds
in magnificent afternoon
snow light, shadowed bright,
late afternoon.

This is Tyler’s Run
I tell my sister.
This is the run
I named after Tyler
the day he died
right after he brought
his daughter into the world.

Sastrugi or zastrugi
is what we’re looking at.
Sharp and irregular—
grooves and ridges
formed on snow surface
by wind erosion,
saltation of snow particles

These are Russian words
and this afternoon sunlight
gives us these shadows.
Ridges perpendicular
to prevailing winds,
steep on windward side
sloping to leeward.

Sastrugi is what we run into
when we stepped out-of-bounds
for the light on the snow. We duck
under the ropes marking boundaries,
bringing us back inside. Tyler’s Run
begins right at 6000 feet
and before turning on to it,
your eyes look directly
at Hogback Mountain
a wall of rock and snow,
gateway to  Goat Rocks Wilderness.
A sharp turn to the east
takes your skis over moguls
just large enough for edges
to get a grip and turn
into the fall line. This is
the kind of run Rexroth loved,
and wrote about, dreaming
moonlight crossing snow. If you stay
to the high left at sunrise, you’ll be
in sunshine and fresh powder,
and if you were born
at the right time, you might
begin singing Gayle Garnett’s song.
Singing it here, sing, we will,
We’ll laugh every day,
your skis arcing, lifting you   
as you sit back just a bit
to ride what got laid down
last night. We’ll sing in the sunshine,
sing it out. My sister tries for it,
sings, We’ll ski in the sunshine.
We laugh, our skis throwing snow.
Just that fast, and you’re out of sunlight
and into shadows, and there’s plenty
of shadows in Garnett’s song, too,
she’s a writer singing, …soon
I’ll be on my way, Don’t hold
me back, Don’t hold me here.
Van Morrison appears, singing, too,
voice and presence,
cutting in as skis pick up speed,
Cut loose, that fast, Cut loose.
The descent is thrilling,
the story never gets old,
these are images of our divinity,
images of the divinity of man.
Tyler’s Run gives you all this
in under two minutes,
Ski tips swallowing snow,
great lips opening for the feminine void
in the large poems of Octavio Paz,
outside of time with Tyler, 27 forever,
a son, nephew, friend and father,
a sailor himself, bilingual,
student of Spanish, reading with Paz,
…supe/ que morir es ensancharse,
this run on skis is the fast swoosh
of the feminine void. Death
is expansion, and it has brought us
here, to this mountain, still
above the cat track, where
the other mountain,
White Goddess Herself,
will greet us in our wondrous descent.
We are two, brother and sister,
Mother and son, uncle and nephew.
We are on skis and this
is the run of accompaniment.

Jim Bodeen
24-28 February 2016


That's about all that I know about harvest.

For the words/deep breathing
our mother blooming.
At one door, it was the door
that had to be opened.
And then, after that,
the rest that came
was only the rest that came.
But that, perhaps takes away
from all that came with your January visit.

I try and write a letter a week.
Afterwards, I have no idea
what is in there, you know.
They come from that other place.
It's Thursday morning.
I'm still recovering
from Tuesday evening at the shelter,
grateful for it, but don't know
if I'll ever be able to do it again.
My mother was the one
who washed the floor
on her hands and knees.
That's still the only thing I trust.
Thanks, Mom. I'm learning
what work it takes to remain alive.
That's a wonderful thing.

Jim Bodeen
25 February 2016

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