Psychopomp Magazine Fall 2014 - Page 12

lost into the desert mountains, weaving between the sage bushes. Sandy veins scarred the far hills, the ghosts of runoff from summer rains and winter snow, breaking into smaller branches farther down into the valley, eventually absorbed.

A canopy of pine trees was thin, lasting only a few dozen feet, a mere gesture to the altitude. The wind carved around the trunks to slap at us. We broke through to the stark and craggy bareness of the summit, a place of harsh wilderness, and met the full force of the gales. Boulders stacked along the ridge, and only an occasional ocotillo poked its thorns through. My shirt clapped in rapid applause over my back; any words I had were carried off in a rush of noise. Mac stood with one leg propped on a rock, leaning into the currents of air, her hair blasting away from her face. Clouds streamed along in a rolling lake below us, filling in the valleys, hiding their faults. The scenic panoramas promised by the visitors’ center remained camouflaged by the intrusive weather. We could only see land at the horizon, New Mexico to the left, Texas to the right, but Mac did not seem disappointed. There were other borders to mind.

disappointed. There were other borders to mind.

I placed my hand between her shoulder blades, and she leaned her weight into me, eyes closed, face upturned in a peaceful smile. Another pair of hikers poked through the cloud layer to our pinnacle, made a lap around the marker at the summit, high-fived while popping open a can of beer, and turned around to begin their descent, not once stopping to rest. If Mac noticed them at all, she did not even flinch. Instead, her weight relaxed further and deeper into my hand, so that soon I had to use both arms in support. Her arms hung loose at her sides, palms up, and her chest, a wind tunnel of lungs, lifted in an open sacrifice of the space between her bones. I couldn’t tell if she was offering what poured out from her, the light from her cracks, or if she was absorbing, refilling.

I imagined my arms pressing through her, reaching into her, just as she had her twin in utero. My hands cupping her clavicle and lifting her up and out from the inside, my triceps trembling from her weight, my life made of her.

12 | Psychopomp Magazine