Carabiner Hitch

This side of the Columbia
on a single afternoon where horse thieves
once hawked in hidden bazaars, dusty bins
stony fingers praying sandstone dervishes.

The line proclaimed the ascent
vanguards shadowing the narrow defile
carabiner hitch, like a donkey braying
with each careful clench, pushing upward.

I must have imagined myself Sir Edmund,
these new found friends, really strangers
my Sherpa shaman, an acolyte
on a waning summer afternoon, hallowing autumn.

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