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Midwinter Smith Rocks
by Maralee Gerke

This afternoon no hawks fly
no ducks float on the swollen river
as a flock of climbers, bright shirts gleaming
Scrabble across the rocky landscape.

Calling to one another from precarious perches,
like flightless raptors,
they anchor to shadowed cracks. Their words
overlap and disappear among the crevices.

Tethered to ancient stone, they listen
as the cacophony of their voices
curl above the roiling brown water
and rise on the sharp cutting wind.

Ascending the jagged wall,
they curl stiff fingers like talons
around coiled rainbows of rope
to grasp the edge of knowing.


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