It was a hard scrabble lurch to the top
rock fields dredged in some last ice age
here or there the shit stain
of a mountain goat’s passing
or the musky scent of a bear just missed.
Told us we shouldn’t drink the water without pills,
elk and antelope rarely stop for bathroom breaks
over barbarian fires and kumbayas
we whispered at the stars
and imagined the prince of peace coming to earth.
Summer snows and narrow canyons
are a school all their own.