When I was a young man
I’d take to the shore—
counting on the salt-slap
of wind off the North Atlantic
and the emptiness
of that unearthly horizon
to rouse me
from a melancholy
that held me bone deep.

It was best
when the weather
was foul—
sky teaming with
ocean to perform—
arousing a primal fear
like the snap of ozone
almost overwhelming.

Today, as far from youth
as I am from the sea,
I take an ancient trail
to the peak of Wind Gap—
above the tree line
of oak and hemlock.

The trail is steep
and slick in spots
and as I struggle up
I wonder, out loud,
how man could have
conquered McKinley.

City bred,
I am outside my ken—
the hilltop scoured
of all life
might well be on Mars.
But the view is breathtaking.
The locals say
you can see three states
from here
and that the wind—
strange and strong
and cold as December,
can turn you around.

Steve Deutsch is published in more than two dozen print and on-line journals. He was twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He is the current poetry editor for Centered Magazine. Steve’s chapbook, Perhaps You Can, was published by Kelsay Books in 2019. His full-length poetry book, The Persistence of Memory,” was just published by Kelsay.