At 16, she devoted herself to time and place
and physics, which loomed in the form
of a Himalayan peak in the dark and asked
with each step whether she was more conscious
than the avalanche, while just above, stars
stuck in the sky like countless stilled ice picks
on an empty ridge, daring her to trust
her crampons and mittens as again
she struck the axe, felling cubes of ice
tidily down to Dad’s whiskey, Mom’s
manhattan while they stood at the bottom,
a little cold, warning her about the gaunt air
that clattered like a skeleton inside her lungs,
till she rested a moment to please them.

Kelly Dolejsi is a graduate of the MFA program at Emerson College and a YMCA climbing instructor. Her work has been published most recently in Fifth Wednesday, Denver Quarterly, Vine Leaves Literary Review, Up the Staircase Quarterly, and 1001. She also has poems forthcoming in North American Review, Allegro, and Timberline Review.