Spring 2006 • Vol. XXVIII No. 2 PoetryApril 1, 2006 |

The Missing Mountain

Cars could reach the mountain's saddle,a notch between two peaks, and theresurvey the grid of lighted streets,a bursting net of beads and sequins,a straining movement cruising for release. "As far as the eye could see," thoughfew cared to look, was across the valleyto the other mountain, whose ridgestood gaffed with broadcast towers, brightharpoons that quivered out our songs. "Oh, wouldn't it be nice," the Beach Boysharmonized. And it was. Sometimes I sawthe Milky Way invade the grid, Andromeda,Draco, and great Betelgeuse bridgingthe avenues and lanes, filling up acres of empty parking lots. Sometimes I staredpowerfully into space where glowwormsof matter spun in pinwheels of gas.What did it mean to be alive?a voice asked. What did it mean to have a voice speaking from inside?Once I found a cockpit canopy froma fighter jet in my neighbor's yard,where it had fallen from the sky.No one ever claimed it, such a large, specific, useless thing, like the shoea giant leaves

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Michael Collier’s sixth book, An Individual History, will be published by W.W. Norton, spring 2012. In 2009, he received an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Maryland and is director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.

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