by Karen Berry
Spire Rock overshadows the Squaw Creek ranger station near Gallatin Gateway, Montana.
It rose behind us like broken grey teeth, a fortress
of upthrust granite, casting our cabin into daylight darkness,
our frosted mornings, waiting for sun, inching, climbing,
taking forever to get there, like the future. I came of age
in its stone shadow, dangling my legs over the edge
of a concrete bridge, the raging glacier-fed churn
of the Gallatin River foaming below, blue and white and beckoning.
I roamed alone, singing along with the river’s thrum,
watched the sun play with knives, the razor-flash of rays on water.
The stone castle loomed as I forged pined paths
of my own making, watchful of bears, moose, elk.
The highway was near, where I could stick out my thumb
and lose my life. I was only afraid that life would never begin.
My stone citadel was empty. It held no soldiers.
I stayed on the banks, basking on boulders, skipping stones,
spying on chipmunks, wondering at birds, dreaming of foxes.
Karen Berry lives and works in Portland, Oregon. Her work has appeared in Goblin Fruit, Indiana Voice, Napalm and Novocaine, and many more print and online journals. This photo was taken during the years she lived near Spire Rock. She blogs at https://karengberry.mywriting.network/
Featured photo courtesy the author.