Susan Cohen

Natural History

It seemed natural to be alive back then—Jack Gilbert

If there is a place where being alive
seems natural, it should be here
in the bright gravity of a mountain,
its hollows still wet with snow in June.
Sunset rouges the clouds.
Somewhere near, a stream 
goes about its enterprise.
Wind sizes up some sugar pines
while a bug takes me for natural, 
landing to nurse on my salt.
Once, I sat on a ledge above a valley, 
faced by an immensity of peaks. 
I was alive but momentary,
relieved at the size of my unimportance.
Back then, I mostly sat in cafés 
complaining life was hard
when life was hardly anything.
Those friends are gone.
To be somewhere between sky 
and dirt seems enough now that death 
feels more and more natural. 
The mountain is alive tonight, full 
of stream sounds and bats. A dog barks.
The spring snow that dazzled me
melts into the dark.