In Defense of Mountains

by Jenny Z. Wu

The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are
never tired, so long as we can see far enough. —Ralph Waldo Emerson

But they do not obstruct the horizon—they raise it—
Along the peak runs an obtuse and sensitive crease that separates our world
Into what we can grind with our toes and what we can seal in bottles, and the rest
Is supple land unfurling up to the sky.

Up north where the leaves change
And fat pebbles with their transparent skin
Once bore scars like tilled fields but clamber now with their wet shine:
My father’s hands

Sprawl over autumn crests but cast no shadow—
The existing shadows are deep wrinkles on a woman’s skirt—
Will smooth to no iron, and the trees:
I want to comb them flat.

Cold air and the time has come—for harvest eyes to follow the beaten trail uphill—
The earth turns herself sideways so we can see
Through greenhouse roofs, through snake holes to the other side, and we are thrown
On our backs.

JENNY Z. WU is a student at Maryville High School in Maryville, TN. She plans to study English literature when she enters college in the fall of 2012.