John Grey


They never shake the sight of mountains,

retain their awe for that immaculate

merge of peak and cloud and sky,

even in sitting rooms, cross-legged

on a chair discussing cows or some such,

or in the bathroom, rubbing fingers

over stubble, or in a shop trying on

last year’s clothes. Sure they fit a

body. But a mountain…

They’re awkward. They speak with

such a twang, folks look to their

flannelled chests for sub-titles.

A drop of phlegm is never far

from every word they speak.

They count their change a hundred

times, have no faith in city folk.

But mountains…if there were no God,

then mountains would be God.

They stay in the cheapest hotel on the street.

What do they care that there’s no air-conditioning

or that bathrooms are shared. They don’t bother

looking out the windows. Or care enough

that the sheets are clean. Outside, there’s plenty

of noise but nothing to dig your fingers in

and scale. Main Street sure does hustle

and bustle but it hasn’t rise enough for even a foothill.

Fact is they’re anxious to get back to their

promised land. Sure they speak to the man

from the co-op, go to the auctions, the bank,

even catch a movie at the Avalon. But colored

light on a dirty blank screen doesn’t thrill

the blood the way a mountain can. What’s the

point of not knowing what will happen next?

A range would never demean itself to be

a valley one day, a river the next.


They leave as soon as their business is done,

pile into the old truck that hacks and coughs

its way to finally humming. They don’t look back

at the women in their Sunday finery,

the men in tailored suits. The tallest of these city

folk is just a tip of the hat over six feet.

If it’s not a mile high, if a hawk can’t swoon

ascending to the top of it, if it don’t gush

in snow-melt waterfalls in spring,

if a second cousin hasn’t tumbled off it

trying to climb its western slope, then it

may as well be underground.

A mountain’s heritage. It’s parentage.

It’s birthright and destiny. It won’t lend a man

a dime but it won’t call in his debts either.

It doesn’t feed the livestock but nor does it cry out

to be fed. Men think they’re as hard as

a rock but it really is as hard as a rock.

And a mountain would never lie to you.

It was the truth before there even was a name for it.


About vision791

Pushcart nominee Jeanette Cheezum has been published on several online writing sites and in fifteen Anthology books and four poetry books. Three of these books have made the New York Times Best Sellers list. Awarded The Helium Networks Premium Writer’s Badge, Bronze Creative Writing Award and a Marketplace Writers award. Recently she has published fourteen ebooks at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. You may find a list of some of her work at
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