Have you been to the boneyard?
The blank eye on the map perched above an asphalt brow
there, an ulna and a radius tower side along side the wide slot between chock-full of the crumpled shapes of disintegrating metacarpals
there, serious shoulders— absurdly capped with far-flung vertebrae —shrug finally downward
there, a grand childbearing pelvis sits open and upturned intimating a return to the womb
her bones are crackled, crystalline and tinged with pink from a slow, hot formation from long, slow excavation
lichens rasp their exterior seeding patches of turmeric and saffron that grow mosaics of steady and successive colonization
adventurers parrot the vegetation scaling her face squawking.
their cries billow from silent, stony maws
she shakes them off with granitic resilience sends conquistadors flying until the colors they hoist are tattered with blood
the best of the fallen laugh with her, hold twilight vigil, drink the moon to rise.
Night fleshes out thighs chest a deep belly arms that could wrap the world
smooth, she sighs, a scalp of quaking aspen stirring
now in the hollow of low, wet valleys the bold yoke themselves to rest, careless to tomorrow’s skeletal sun.
Birch Malotky is freelance writer and conservation practitioner based spiritually (and sometimes physically) in the Mountain West. She has an unreasonable fondness for off-width climbing and also wonders if “layback” or “lieback” is more grammatically correct. Follow her @birch_breeze on Instagram for nuggets of natural history.
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We have also now have a podcast, called Dirtbag State of Mind.
About us: The Climbing Zine was started in 2010 by Al Smith III and Luke Mehall. It continues to the day with the mission of representing the true essence of climbing. Our crown jewel is our printed version, but we also do the interweb thing, and Kindle.
We have also published seven books: The Desert, Graduating From College Me, American Climber, The Great American Dirtbags , Climbing Out of Bed, The Climbing Zine Book and Squeak Goes Climbing In Yosemite National Park (a climbing children’s book) .
Check out our films, Grateful Husse, Just A Climber, For Bears Ears, and Last Thoughts on The Dirtbag at our YouTube page.
Also: listen to our curated playlist: Hip Hop and Climbing Vol. 1, now on Spotify.