Precipice ~ Ann Elizabeth Huston


I curl up with the mountain lion—
his body spans my length and more.

Winter stars bridge the canyon above us
and the cliff is still red with its shadowy
clefts and ledges, still green-dotted by trees.

A rock breaks from the cliffface and there is
a small rumble, but my lion doesn’t hear it.

He is stretched beside me deep asleep, so I study
his fur and think of pale thistles long after a freeze,
still standing against a cold blue sky.


In the morning we will scramble down
the rockfall, slip past empty overhangs.

The trail will have fresh tracks we follow
until they disappear into the undergrowth
where I am afraid to go.


Tonight, though, my lion’s body is a beacon
to moths, then bats skimming above us
as if we were a pond, reflecting the sky.