Twelve Mountains

Meesha Goldberg


The 1st mountain belongs to old men & their every ambition, every addiction, every cast seed
spent, every nail hammered, every bone a splintered kindling for the pyre

The 2nd mountain belongs to grandmothers eroded by demand, wet with every grief, gone rogue
& rugged, bent backed & slack-wombed, ladled out

The 3rd mountain belongs to young men, hard men, sacrificed from forests, clear cut, pine felled,
split, boarded, flammable men, frontlined & mined

The 4th mountain belongs to young women missing, street bound, hell hounded, lost & found,
midwifed silent, almost mother, almost survived but suicided

The 5th mountain belongs to children⎯

The 6th mountain belongs to babies returned to sender

The 7th mountain belongs to queers shapeshifted, double kinned & twin liminal, sacred femmed
& transcestral, coveted yet cast out, androgyn unified by heaven

The 8th mountain belongs to light bound hermits observing penultimate breath, to the peripheral
crone of devotion reaped of poems, garden restored to wilderness

The 9th mountain belongs to tigers & pounced prey, to vultured shoulders, to the reeled in, to the
hung & quartered, to the put to pasture, to the slaughtered & the 6th extinction

The 10th mountain belongs to stone sprung headwaters laced with gold, fractured bedrock, faults
of earth, megaliths & cliff carved icons TNT’d, the pit & quarry

The 11th mountain belongs to the shrine of cypress, the hallowed yew, the resin of pine, the
hived hackberry, the symmetry of oak starved of ceremony, bereft of resident spirits

The 12th mountain belongs to time bent, time wily, time wired to alchemize, time the prism, time
the cocoon, time elastic & time condensed mercilessly into ghosts