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Mount Everest Longs For the Moon

By Jonathan Travelstead

    for Tamara

I know your face’s stone ash when it circles close. Your furthest ellipse

has so long tugged my peak with gravity’s black hand

I no longer notice the sun’s paint peel from night.

My sweet satellite combing aeons for purpose,

sometimes I fear our transmissions are so much nothing that absence

is all we share. Above me. Below you.

Moon dust like mortar mix. Dolomite crumbs.

I hope such grit may yet bind us. Earth offers me on stony plates

pushing millimeters further from a body that has long ago 

grieved an old flame. I have no gifts for you. Any water I saved 

has long since whisped away to gas. My words: 

cracked. They pit with longing. But you, sweet moon. 

In a billion years after the world dies you must only wobble close 

in your arc. I will recognize my love, returned. 

Come closer, silent partner. See the caves you disturb. 

When these aeons pass no words will remain.

When you break free from orbit, crashing your hot face into mine,

know our first kiss meant no harm.

Jonathan Travelstead served in the Air Force National Guard for six years as a firefighter and currently works as a full-time firefighter for the city of Murphysboro, and as co-editor for Cobalt Review. Having finished his MFA at Southern Illinois University of Carbondale, he also turns a lathe, crafting pens under the name Scorched Ink Penturning. His first collection “How We Bury Our Dead” by Cobalt Press was released in March, 2015, and “Conflict Tours” (Cobalt Press) was released in 2017.


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