Thin Places

Pat Phillips West
Sometimes travel takes us to "thin places" - a mountain, a bookstore, a forest, a shrine – 
where the sublime bends low.
  ~  Eric Weiner

I make my way down Red Fish Canyon,
shins protesting the sharp dissent.
At the bottom, the lake laps 
at the lowest branches
of the cottonwood trees.
Mid-March the smell of mud 
and last fall’s leaves fill the air.
Dark-bottomed clouds sit right on the treetops.
I take a long pull from my blue
water bottle.  Your image sways 
between wisps of vapor dancing
across the lake.  A hot, steel blade 
of excitement slides down my spine.
You wear that green and white plaid
Pendleton jacket.  I catch a whiff
of campfire smoke and whiskey.
Hemingway’s whiskey you’d always say
although I can’t remember why.
After we’d set up camp, you’d sip 
a Seven and Seven, raise your glass, 
toast Muddy Waters as the rhythm rolled 
from a mix tape of sweet soul, 
dirty blues.  You’d lean back 
in your chair by the fire, sigh, 
This place just puts me whole.    



Pat Phillips West lives in Portland, OR. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, her work has appeared in Haunted Waters Press, Persimmon Tree, VoiceCatcher, San Pedro River Review, Slipstream, Gold Man Review and elsewhere.


     riverbabble 29 table of contents    |   Write to the Author   |  Go to the Archives