Precipice

Oh, the luxury of a sure foot. At every bend in the path, I will God into being and he mocks me at the precipice.

Inching, thinking only of myself, I keep my eyes to the mountain above. Footing.

My daughter walks ahead of me, loose in her shoes. To watch her play with existence is perhaps the greatest terror.

Dancing, prattling to a friend, she draws a line from the earth to the sky. I wonder if we figure in one another’s prayers.

We sidle the precipice and come to the smallest of waterfalls. It takes all of my powers not to visualize the downward line and the arc of lit up and luminous spray.

Nothing less than a mountain goat emerges from a narrow ledge cut in diagonal inches from the precipice and he ambles easily across my path.

Shocked that God should momentarily take the form of a goat, I think laughter. God bleats his indifference across my path and on up the mountainside.

My daughter sees herself safely to the other side, and waits for me beneath a makeshift wooden temple. Finding her there, we sit together on a low wooden beam in a lean-to that looks like nothing more than a rural bus stop.

We imagine mules, carrying thick disks of tea along the Tea Horse Road.

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