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Mountain Sickness

ISSUE:  Summer 1994

Climbing higher on a far peak
and staying there too long, you take
headaches and nausea. Your nose bleeds
and you are dizzy. Weakness leads
to weakness and black out; you fall.
Exhilaration and thrill
of vistas and triumphant height give
way to sadness, then massive
despair. Sometimes you can adjust
by looking at rock or hoarfrost
close by. Most times you leave the top,
stumbling down the trail and slope
to thicker air, close horizon,
to mire and shady thicket, then
to cove and smell of decay, calm
of mud and tangled roots and balm
of breeding, brooding trapped water.


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