(after Jordie Albiston’s ‘Cartography’)
What is the space between this hut and that mountain
but impenetrable black, and frosty cold.
She is writing this at a table in the cabin,
spinning thoughts like threads, as if they can hold
her boys tighter, pull the mountain in, with their bold
tents blooming like flowers in the snow.
Can thoughts, or mad desire, shift the world
slightly, tilt ranges so their faces lower
to her own? Upthrust, tectonic forces, the whole slew
of geology sped up, so contour lines diminish
and lakes freeze, ice thickening to a deep blue
while those dark mountain peaks relinquish
distance; and this long night will finish.
Her writing is a thread to lure them back,
their faces filled with snow light, dolerite, the itch
of time alone, the cold breath of height. Face facts:
the contours between here and there are shifting. Pack,
and ask, what is the space between home and out there,
between their beginnings and these beginnings, but a lack
of courage; what is distance but a prayer?