An Easy Day for a Lady

The Grépon has disappeared. Of course, there are still some rocks standing there, but as a climb it no longer exists. Now that it has been done by two women alone, no self-respecting man can undertake it. 

– Etienne Bruhl, mountaineer, 1929

 

When we climb alone

en cordeé feminine,

we are magicians of the Alps –

we make the routes we follow

disappear.

 

Turn round

to see the swooping absence

of the face, the undone glaciers,

crevasses closing in on themselves

like flowers at night.

 

We’re reeling in the sky.

The forest curls into a fist.

The lake is no more permanent

than frost. Where you made ways,

we will unmake:

 

give back the silence

at the dawn of things.

Beneath your feet, the ground

retracts its hand.