Poem: Gary Gildner, ‘Rock Tea’

At a hot springs in Sawtooth Mountains
8,000 feet above the level sea,
my two-year-old daughter enters the steamy shallows, and sings
I’m naked! I’m naked! And clings to herself
as if the pink body under her slender arms might slip away.
I do not want her to slip away, not ever,
but I know one day she will. I know
one day she will put on her snow boots
and take up the trail in earnest—and I will call out
I am happy for her, very happy, but sad too,
and hope I will see her again. From the pool’s moony wash
she brings me her cupped hands. Rock tea, Papa, you like some?
I cup her hands in my own, and drink. It is delicious, I say,
more delicious than air itself, than life, may I have another?
And perhaps you will have one too? Perhaps, thank you,
In this way, gently over rock tea,
we celebrate how far we have traveled together.

Gary Gildner is a contemporary North American poet.

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