Armed with shafts of light weak from
the previous evening’s games of flashlight tag,
we emerge from sleeping bag cocoons
already dressed warmly against the April chill.
Watch out for wiggly sticks!
our mother’s mantra of fear,
as we step gingerly over the dark basalt rocks
avoiding the jumping cholla.
We scramble our way up the hill
toward a crude cross backlit
by the beginnings of a rosy sunrise.
Primeval oaks, black and massive below,
some with Spanish crosses carved,
my dad claimed, by terrified conquistadors.
But the trees, too ancient and wise to subscribe to this singular faith
scabbed over the crosses, retracting the prayers.
Almost to the summit
The priest, poised in pale white robes, is eager to reveal to us
the same miracle as last year:
He is risen!
My sister and I scuffle with our brothers, balancing on wobbly rocks,
until Dad moves to stand between us.
The drone of the priest fades
as my thoughts are enveloped by
the smokey dutch ovens below brimming with
swollen cinnamon rolls, crisp bacon,
bright yellow scrambled eggs,
wishing that these scents would rise up
to remind the priest
that we haven’t eaten breakfast.
Finally, the entire sky pale yellow like the hills of grass rolling south toward Mexico,
Amen! We are free, the stone rolled away!
Ahead of the adults we race
down, down, down,
guided by wispy ghosts of cowboy coffee
and the impatient snorts of the horses.