Life at 7,000 Feet by Dick Altman

Life at 7,000 Feet

Life at 7,000 Feet

by Dick Altman

Northern New Mexico
Sometimes I see stars below eye level   Sometimes I peer down
on oceans of cloud   Sometimes lightning’s no higher than my

shoe tops   Sometimes the moon sets beneath me   Sometimes
the sun rises from under me   Sometimes I can almost grab storms

by the coattails   Sometimes a dozen pueblos rise before me
in morning’s haze   Sometimes an obsidian wave of ravens darkens

the sky above me   Sometimes I stare into a desert wall of dust
that nearly blinds me   Sometimes I feel in Vietnam as gunships

fly low over me   Sometimes Los Alamos’ quantum glow
at midnight looks almost serene   Sometimes I hear history’s echo

galloping across the plain   Sometimes Rio Grande’s valley seems
a vast chessboard of conflict   Sometimes sun liquefies with fire

horizon’s entirety at dusk   Sometimes I fall asleep to tidal winds
surfing aspen shores   Sometimes the Milky Way appears like

infinity’s interstate   Sometimes I envy lights wending peaks at four
before daybreak   Sometimes I could be made of darkness, so void

of light is night   Sometimes I yearn to sail with hawks cloudless
azure seas for which syllable, word or line hardly suffice


Dick Altman writes in the high, thin, magical air of Santa Fe, NM, where, at 7,000 feet, reality and imagination often blur. He is published in the Santa Fe Literary Review, American Journal of Poetry, Haunted Waters Press, and many others, here and abroad. He is a poetry winner of the Santa Fe New Mexican’s annual literary competition. His first collection of poems, Voices in the Heart of Stones, is being considered for publication.

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