The Man Who Loved Mountains


By Lee H. McCormack

Because he loved mountains he stood at the edge of the sea

Studying wind for signs and scents of apple trees standing sentry

Over forsaken meadows still flowering with the insects of summer.

The acrid smell of seaweed on the beach reached deep into

His thoughts and cut his breath with salt’s corrosive memories

Of tragedies forgotten in his body’s brief, genetic history.

As far as he could see across the water the sinews and muscles

Of storms flexed erratically, tensed by lightning, abruptly, then released.

In the surface tension of the green ocean’s skin he sensed uncertainty,

And watched a thin, bruised autumn mist form into the ruins of a city

Abandoned by mythology before the summer’s end. As if it was a warning

He understood the prophecy of thunder that called his name.

But this is where the story changes: because on that day he survived

His misery of desire without blaming the complications of weather.

He closed his eyes and let the world remain the same

World it was when he arrived. In its savagery, its misshapen beauty,

Its recycled violence and utter lack of mercy, he felt the pull of tides

And the sweet, dark gravity of his body giving language physical density.

A resident of the dank and moldy primal forests of West Tisbury for over 30 years, Lee H. McCormack has been occasionally reported as actually being seen alive, usually from a great distance, through high-octane vision-magnifying devices.