Shkhara Glacier

by | Feb 7, 2012 | Poetry

Pine trees on the ridge wrapped in clouds,

the toad in the stream wrapped in water that

has only been water since seeping off a glacier

1000 meters up; Allison slowly makes her way higher,

her head wrapped in a red bandana, the trees

wrapped in autumn, the yellow & orange

of leaves still hanging on. The slight drizzle of rain,

the manner in which her hair, her coat, her boots

absorb each drop as she climbs, a counterpoint

to the melting glacier, the water rushing past her

through the same large rocks she navigates,

rocks that form the memory of snow,

her feet touching, moving over them as

Mt. Ushba is hidden in mist, yet

when she looks up, she sees glacier like an

iceberg submerged in water, not the peak,

but the underbelly & its slow movement

quickening, a river running under it,

the 50-foot wall of ice, the small streams carving

it down to feed the heavy rush that emerges

from the mouth, a mouth like a cave or

her mouth, this woman like a goddess

who works her way uphill, sings like glacial water,

sings of the history of mountains, plate tectonics,

& cirques—she sings standing on the edge

of autumn, trees wrapped in a cool,

misty air, the earth’s movement larger

than she can hike in a day.





Photo by Paata Vardanashvili

About The Author

Timothy Kercher

Timothy Kercher’s manuscript “Nobody’s Odyssey” was recently selected as a finalist for the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry, and his translation of Besik Kharanauli’s long poem, “The Lame Doll,” is set to be published in the Republic of Georgia early next year. His poems and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in a number of recent literary publications, including Crazyhorse, Versal, The Dirty Goat, VQR, Asheville Review, upstreet, Guernica, The Minnesota Review and others. He now lives in Kyiv, Ukraine with his wife and twin daughters.