The mountain was close.
Far. Then closer.
Rivulets of light ran across it.
Lakes were white circles,
then empty eyes.
The sky was a field of burning stones.
It was neither day nor night.
It was jasmine, and fires went out
over my head. The closer I got,
the farther it was.
Rivers pooled like green wax,
and the orchards and vineyards
on its flanks flared
like the wings of a scarlet tanager.
The trees glared like shepherds’ crooks
in the brass light; crows roosted on them,
and the mountain rose into the sky,
until it was a cloud
shimmering in black air.
© Peter Balakian