During the night I felt our cat
press up against me, as she does,
for warmth and to let me know
what’s what. Woke to a cold room,
fire out, bed barely big enough
for me. No cat. No you. Only a faint
mousescrabble in the corner, the moon
palming cards behind the usual screen of clouds.
February: not the best month to return
to the 19th century, kerosene lamps,
just a woodstove between me and icy
rain that turns to hail. What
brings me here’s the same old same
old: wanting mountain dreams
to bless me. Ask my soul its reason,
hope for some sort of reply.
In the city even long walks
down to beach and harbor only help a little,
don’t let me calm enough to hear
what drifts beneath the buzz.
Drifting quite a lot here, one thought
to another. Clouds do that. I’d like to
be a cloud. Not really. Too damned
wet and you’re not there. You’re
somewhere here on earth, wrapped up
in your techno-crazy ways. I like
it when we fold together
in the dark and just hold on,
even when the dreams get murky,
even when the static’s loud, even
when the cat takes up
three-quarters of the bed.
* * * * *
Penelope Moffet lives in Los Angeles.
She is the author of It Isn’t That
They Mean to Kill You (Arroyo Seco Press, 2018), a collection of desert
poems, and Keeping Still (Dorland
Mountain Arts, 1995), a collection of chaparral poems. “Letter from the
Mountain” was written in February 2004, the last time Moffet stayed at Dorland
before the original colony was lost in a wildfire. She stayed at the new
Dorland for the first time Thanksgiving week 2020.