Love at High Altitude

The blue blue lake and snow-capped peaks
literally take your breath away.
Red-faced and panting,
chewing on your coca leaves
like a ruminating cow,
you trudge along the sinuous path
that climbs from the harbor
to the hacienda on the hill.
Your fiancé is fifty yards ahead by now.
You nod and wave that you’re O.K.
Even the overburdened llama
Is moving more swiftly.

The brochures have promised you
nights of blazing passion
on the enchanted Isla del Sol
but the only thing that blazes
is the relentless sun.
At fourteen thousand feet
you have no appetite for dinner
much less for love.

Yet this is the perfect place
to pause and summarize your life.
From the hotel’s stone bench,
you survey the intersecting paths
which traverse the terraced fields,
the lines of drying clothes
stretched out like giant pennants,
the V-shaped wakes made by
the reed boats on the lake.
The declining sun illuminates
the islands, coves and cliffs,
infusing each one briefly
with a coat of Inca gold.
You think of all the tiny steps,
the circuitous routes, the false starts
that brought you to these dizzying heights.
Your lover takes a seat beside you.
A pink glow suffuses the jagged peaks.
You huddle closer.
You manage to take a long, deep breath.
You feel like you are sitting
at the top of the world.

(Originally published by Writer’s Haven)

 

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