We Are the Walls

The author in Yosemite. Photo by Brian Kimball

We Are the Walls
by Sara Aranda

Morning light     mountain flake
balance of granite     and us
and our feet     delicate, malleable hands—
how they trace stone walls
better than the sky.

We’ve come to know another language
of incomprehensible body     a dialogue
of skin and blood.
We feel for the cracks     sloping edges
the slightest of undulations     in a blanket of slab—
how they all seethe and reverberate callous     or time, or
the anatomy     of fingers and hard bone.

Chockstones for throats     heavy, polished, grave—
we yell, inside and out     and we question
who is actually listening, or

We scatter self-will     with chalk
sow self-doubt     and rapture
our limbs like rolling ferns in spring.
We commit     and become
split, as bodied as
the walls we’ve come to climb—

find sanity
that may not exist     but it’s enough
to move on     our shoes stick
our throats swallow our stones,
and we may be tangents on a stem too steep
too wide, too honest,
but we are what we’ve been wanting
all along. We are what time     slowly alters, never forgets
we are the walls where paradise is found     and lost
again and again—

the walls we stare at, desire     without touching
chase, endure, sit, repose
remember beginnings, erode     as and for the mountain,
witness its moods     our moods
tell its story     our story
and how we only ever just became     us again.

But we are soft     have always been.
We are fractured and elusive     just as defined
by those who cross our length     our depth
who pry at our fissures to find
only themselves there     staring back.

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