Medicine Mountain
by Barrie Neller

Seeming as close as a ceiling,
the clouds pile up like dirty clothes
and I am infused with a sense
of wonder and peace.

I'm lying atop a butte overlooking
a disappearing plain. My friends
have brought me here to heal.
Last night, the distant town

had looked like an encampment.
Last night, the white-clad , bright-
eyed vultures put in another
appearance, prodding and pulling

me like eager church women
around a new recipe; the star
of the show shoved to one side
like a nuisance, but wired

to its own rhythm section.
The rest of me looking like
a buffalo kill, my ribs wedged wide
with heavy equipment.

Awake at last and
seeking something...redemption? ...
I walked out at dawn. Walked
where the Comanche had walked

smelling the same sensational air,
seeing the same painted plants.
What my city-bred ears
heard as kennels

were coyote packs, now their
imprudent appetites added to
nature's palette. In this
transcendental tableau, I still felt

unworthy to be alive, unworthy
to be treading this sacred ground.
But something was happening.
My body was soaking strength

from the soil. My soul absorbing
solace from the spirits. Gentle
warriors were sharing their wealth,
making me whole. Now, rested and

reassured, as the clouds continue
their tumble-dry action, and the
wind scatters my fears for the
future, I am comforted.

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