Arndt Lake ~ Paul Willis

Boulder bluff with a golden finish.
Lichen or not,
a splotch of ochre.

Mountain hemlock sprouting
from a granite seam.
Hold on, little one.

Here, surely, a lodgepole
with an aching back, bent by the snows
and still crooked, all these years.

Whitebark snags against the sun,
silhouettes that prove
the light is bearable.

Dwarf lupine, low to the ground,
white-lavender knuckles
knocking the wind out of the sky.

Bilberry by sandy shore,
an ecotone without a sound
except the lapping of the lake.

Rock island—
single granite turtle shell
doming out of the green water.

Long shadow trees and
shadow people, swimming
deep into the cold.

—Yosemite National Park