When put into a narrow place, a strait and still straiter space,
the impulse of the breath is up up up and in
to rearrange the organs and turn sideways the gait
to make the self disappear and the breath turn thin.
The mountains are firm, we've learned,
and there's no use asking them to move for us.
If pressed by crag or by hot coal burned,
we rush our steps, tremble at the peak before us.
The mountain range is an insistent endless danger.
The hope to see the summit has gone dry.
---Hope now to shrink our bodies, and hurry in anger
at ourselves for childish feelings and long lives.
Whatever pocket once held the mustard seeds
had some hole, eaten through maybe in our sleep?
We ask nothing of these cliffs, this sea,
but to spare us. They have no promises to keep.
So we force ourselves thin to fit, to slide
unsuccessfully past the crush of narrow paths
---or, fat, we succumb and try to hide
beneath falling rocks, to feel their fatal wrath.
No one is casting any mountains in the sea or begging
for the crooked ways to go straight.
The problem is not with the landscape, we reckon,
but with our bodies. So we lose weight.