When I Used to
Live in the Mountains
The view obstructed by
the view. A rush of clouds
closing over the peaks,
breaking, releasing, rushing
on. My home slid a
little. The place where I
gathered berries kept moving. I rarely ate them.
Rivulets trickled by my feet. Smoke from my
chimney trickled upward—blue and woodsy and
announcing me. I received all visitors as a
might: I absented myself. Now living in the city,
am grateful for the bodies packed in around me,
each in their anointed slot of bedroom, bed,
someone else's arms and worries. When I recall
anything I remember the freedom to walk
unattended through miles of pine and ice, the sky
open eye that clouded and closed and never
Anchor winched up and away he went, sails
unfurled in the wind. Rudderless, nonetheless.
yet trying to steer his ship towards her. A deep
instinct for the coastline and an aversion to
sea. He did not understand the forces (sirens)
pulling him. He thought he might be choosing.
Alone on the deck he would catch a glimpse of
green sky at dawn, cloaked with iron clouds. And
then it would rain. And then he would hide. And
then her body would be there, an island, a
harbor, a soft, warm cliché where he enjoyed his
loneliness at great length.
Becca Barniskis lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota where she works as a
poet, teaching artist and free-lance writer and consultant in arts education.
She also edits the Resource Exchange section of the Teaching Artist
Journal. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Mid-American
Review, Conduit, Prairie Schooner, Blackbird, the Northwest Review and
Archived at http://lit.konundrum.com/poetry/barniskisb_poems.php
Copyright respective authors
and Konundrum Engine