People have died in these mountains,
the sign at the bottom warned,
do not attempt a trail
beyond your capacity.
After an hour’s climb I reached
the old sanatorium, and panted
at the door of those rooms now choked
with thistle and prickly pear,
where the sick had drunk their milk
and slept on cold porches, forbidden
even the small exertion of brushing their hair.
I won’t scratch my name into these walls,
as others have done,
but my voice, yes,
I would like to throw that
onto these cliffs, to hear it
come back, from where I see
reflections of some pool,
reachable or not,
I don’t yet know.
“Hidden Spring” is from The Charge (Ausable Press, 2003).