The Axe

We’re flying over the raw edges
of mountains.  The Cessna
pencils in its flickering shadow
on the frozen southern slopes.
Far beneath us are cabins
where long ago my brother
yanked off his boots,
talked, laughed, ate, slept. 

There is no way I can change the ending:
a condemned trailer, its roof propped up
with timbers like a mineshaft,
the door locked for three days
as he lay with debris scattered round him.
Dust to dust.  Ashes to ashes.
Long before I heard of it,
burial at State expense,
somewhere near Seattle.

Jim, our pilot, doesn’t always
bother to look through
the cockpit window
as he dodges between peaks.
It’s his party trick.  With outstretched arm
he points out odd, saucer-shaped clouds
hovering above each summit.
At daybreak on the airstrip,
we heard about the axe
he kept under the front passenger seat
just in case any of us needed
to smash our way out.

Diana Brodie

If you have any comments on this poem, Diana Brodie would be pleased to hear from you.

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