Rainier

Paul drinks a Rainier beer.
He drinks it because Longmire drinks Rainier.

Only a couple liquor stores in Albuquerque
stock Rainier beer.

Paul likes to carry a six pack in a backpack
and walk the volcanoes.

He likes feeling a cold one slide down
while sitting observing the city east to west

from that rocky vantage point
that residue of tectonic destruction.

He thinks of Mount Rainier blowing its top
like Mount St. Helen recently did.

Recently in geologic time.
Paul likes to think in geologic time.

His problems seem insignificant
within that framework.

If Rainier did blow its top
Seattle would be the future’s Herculaneum.

Paul turns from his stoney perch
and looks at the Jemez and the Valles caldera.

All that ejected rock and ash that filled
the Albuquerque rift—the Rio Grande valley.

He holds his Rainier beer can up
and tips it in salute

to the power of the earth beneath his feet
to move cubic miles of rock long distances

and drop boulders like rain drops.
Sitting on those rocks helps him keep perspective.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

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