Now, standing at the pass

looking south into the valley,

my valley,

I watch familiar black birds fly spitfire into the torrential clouds below

and  disappear.

Transported,

time in the cruelest month stands still

and holds my heart one moment longer

pulled tight in the wake of orange paintbrush

and the preternatural smell of mountain sage

smokey

under the tongue,

swept up

now

mercifully

intoxicated,

towards the immense of the Western night sky.