Christmas on Hazel Mountain
by James Owens

Rt. 63 straight up and over the ridgeline—
then the far slope and woods sheathed in ice,
every twig of every tree frozen last night
in cold plunging after rain, from here
hills and hollows laid out for miles,
angular, broken, answering the sun.

Beautiful. But wasn’t the drive alone, this day,
a sort of asking after beauty?
A try at chancing across beauty’s path
to place a mark in time?

These hills are the foldings a hawk
searches in summer, lazing in and out
of the wind’s pockets, tilting for a sweet thermal.

Today frozen trees alien as the hawk’s eye,
distant as the hidden face of God.

Icicles script the cut rock of the roadside,
and downhill slick patches glint, offer
a slide from cliffrock to heaven.

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