Outside Colorado, he stops
his fists locked
around the steering wheel.
I watch the small nerve
above his cheek twitch
like a neon sign:
“All the way from St. Louis…”
Mountains slip from the sky
with last night’s snow
circled round the tops
of their peaks.
Lanzo tells me that he can hear
the Pacific,
that it echoes in his ear
like a sea shell.
Around us the great desert
of Utah;
we are far from the sea.
Lanzo moves like an ancient turtle,
picking his way
through an ocean of sand.

Telephone wires stiffen
their messages in a wind
blinded by altitude and snow.
Off the road I watch
the pulse of sleep
hang from his lip like an ode.
I pull away his eyes,
his two-hundred and thirty pounds,
skin that smells of bear,
and find the heart of a child
whispering into the wings of birds.
He’s asleep now,

and the Rockies are glad.