High up in the mountains at noon he stops
to catch his breath. Heaven is night-blue above.
He feels eyes on him, a billion black eyes
on white trunks with the snow. Aspen trees
claim valleys and passes in all directions,
all but the peaks. There is no escape from this life
but up. And even then. The largest in the world
he is told, connected to itself by miles of ancient
organs to make a life the size of Utah.
A white, living empire they call the Trembling Giant.
Not sure he can call these trees anymore
he leans on one, hands sweaty and legs sore
from skiing all morning. The air is thin.
He feels the eyes envy him. If he is not bigger
than that enormous being at least his life
shares the size of something that is.
He is the one trembling, remembering
what he can claim, always
surprised that this is the same life, every day,
the bulk of which is lost, buried, unseen,
or forgotten, but still sending up living shoots
to the sun, that quake in the morning wind
and turn gold-yellow later on. Though he is not
even sure he can call these days anymore.