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.