Dreaming at 11,000 Feet

Up here clouds can pass
through a tent like balloons
balanced above a cartoon character’s head.
I could be talking in my sleep
and the words might escape,
drift across the mountain’s meadow
soundless as a somber bear
or they might catch on one of those scruffy
desperate trees rooted at the timber line--
hanging on,
twisted like a wisp of ribbon
up where it doesn’t belong.
I am asleep in the thin air
dreaming of fire
that sputters like a candle’s wick.
My heart gushes blood
so that I can hear it all night
polishing my bones.
If I wake before I die
I pray for at least one more
glimpse of this heaven.