She said it was greener and sweeter up here,
kinder than down there on the plain
but the mountains are tooth-white
monsters which loom, leer, command, compel:
now you see them, now you don't.

Lakes curl their fingers, beckon like crones.
The quiet sky pulls you up with its own white, tremulous hands.
Oaks, pines, rhododendrons sit, expectant.
The air thins as you speak, becomes more and more
reluctant to help.

It's tiring, this paused, shivering beauty,
but the little cafe and the German tourists and the bottled water
are just right for now.
I take off my hat, slap on the cream, wait for her.
The sun ignores the cream, burns my face.