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Rocky Peak


Nice to earn the view 

from my favorite peak again

Writing this from one of

my sitting rocks 

This one is at the top

It’s July

First time I’ve pushed it 

since April


Every time I call my youngest


a few rings go by 

before she answers

There was that

early morning phone call

The one her fingers remember

even when her brain forgets

“Sweetie, I had a heart attack

last night?

They want to do bypass surgery


But I’m OK”


I didn’t realize my

ICU recovery nurse

was leaving me forever,

until she was almost out the door

I said “Wait, pull down your mask”

The next moment lives with me

Hospital tip #6:

You can fall in love with your nurse

but don’t expect it to last


My oldest daughter

left her kids

With her best friend

she didn’t have to say

“It’s my turn”

Her friend’s mother died

a few months before

The kids knew each house

was their own


She was in the air

during my surgery

After the plane landed

she tried to breathe as her

finger hovered above

“Airplane Mode”

When she turned it off 

the message would arrive

Her father was alive

or dead


She busts into town

with a good blanket

for me (hospital tip #2)

Charge nurse that she is

she takes charge of my nurses


I’m slow, but steady

going up Rocky Peak

Steady is good.

The heat pressing down is an old friend.

The new gear is holding up great.


Hundreds of feet above the valley floor

a raven enjoys a thermal

Just thirty feet away from me

A flick of black and gone

She’s a bird with purpose 

The raven makes me smile

She reminds me why I’m here


They told her to stay home during

my surgery, COVID and all,

So my wife did our morning walk


Fastest time on record


I surrendered in the hospital

She had neither surrender

nor control

Just horrible lonely visions


Home a few weeks

they didn’t want me to drive

As we pull out of a parking lot

sun glare and window haze

My wife couldn’t see 

which lane to pick

She stopped the car

and started screaming


They re-graded the first mile of this trail
What does it mean that I miss
the steep and unsteady footing
in the first quarter mile?
With a few good rainstorms
the bedrock and gullies
will emerge again
I can hike a hard trail 

to the end
but I have to care 

for these new smooth arteries
This heart beats in more
than my scarred chest

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