The ridge is worn, the treeless summit clothed
in cloud, the dead but durable illusions.
The trace we follow’s northerly disposed.
Although taciturn, certain of weight,
we seize on singularities, exclusions
that brace allegiance. In the early eighties
we explored the Presidential Range.
From cairn to mist-hid cairn we made our way
then puffed back down the tourist choo-choo train,
vowing to return before we quit
this world, while still we weathered natural days.
In dreams I have a son I never did.
The man glowers beside the Celtic cross.
The boy is busy interpreting the veins
in wind-hewn rock, deciphering trodden moss.
Equivocal, I slip into the gift shop,
peruse souvenirs, taking pains
I’m overlooked, left out of the photo-op.
But what purchase would not prove friable?
What mineral trinket could link a lineage?
No fancy forges truth, no figment rivals
flesh and blood. The stark horizon’s red
giant corroborates my father’s visage
in dreams where he esteems the boy instead.
Matthew Dulany has previously contributed to Roanoke Review. More of his work can be read in recent and forthcoming issues of Blue Bonnet Review, The Cape Rock, Confrontation, Kestrel, Salamander, and Prick of the Spindle. He lives in Maryland.