Into the Rockies
By John Grey
Due west, as we drive,
mountains, colored mostly from the red spectrum,
rise up in a line.
I feel a little like the captain
of a charging army.
The enemy won't shoot
until they see the whites of my eyes.
The land's been so flat until now
but, ahead of us,
the world no longer adheres to that lie.
My wife turns down the radio.
It's like she wants to be able to hear
what she's seeing.
Even in the back seat, boredom gives way to awe.
"Those are the Rockies," I proclaim.
So I'm the head of an expedition now.
Once again, my team fail to recognize their leader's genius.
Closer and closer, we come.
Higher and higher soar the mountains.
"Are you sure there's a way through?"
asks my wife.
I toss the road atlas into her lap.
"If Rand McNally says there's a road,
then there's a road."
Rand and McNally are correct but just.
Up into the high country, we go
on a narrow strip of pavement.
There's mountains on all sides.
My wife gets nervous at some
of the drops a few feet from our wheels.
The kids are on the lookout for grizzlies.
I raise my hand, toast thin air,
utter "So what do you think?""
like I'm showing people around the house I built.
"Look where you're driving!" shouts my wife.
"How come there's no bears," snarl the children.
I surround them with splendor -
but they'd rather be safe
or, if not, eaten.
Thunderstorm was off the charts,
now it’s off the coast.
Peace returns to the air
which is an invitation to
young girls to wear red blouses
and tight jeans
and giggle when two guys walk by.
The absence of anything resembling weather
allows a dog out of its house
with a master on a leash.
And Gale to unlatch the window
as a soaked summer’s day
can now lie back in the sun.
Joggers appear on the horizon
like Apaches in old westerns.
A car drives by
fluttering two American flags.
Gates wheeze open up and down the block.
And, to think, thunder and lightning
were having none of this.
When it was raining that hard,
there could be no life.
Now that it’s stopped.
even the ordinary
comes as a revelation.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Ellipsis, Blueline and International Poetry Review.