"Linville Gorge Tipping East" - Tony Morris


"Linville Gorge Tipping East" - Tony Morris
 ~for Scott

We hike the trail at midnight,
raindrops tattering against
broad-leaved tickseed, brook
lettuce, Carey's saxifrage, tracking
with our lights the muddied cut
tracing a crooked line to Babel Tower,
a flat, broad slab of granite atop
a steep-pitched grade where we make camp
and after salted jerk and water, sit silent,
firelight on our faces, smoothed stone
our backs. Outside the ring of light
night time presses in,

black above the hips of distant hills,

wind blasts
singing from the canyon, twisting, bent
limbs of cedar sweeping south,
granite face weathered into smooth
cups and dips, seams sketched like scars
across the surface of the rock
while above cold stars settle on the sharp-
tipped pines, geometries of scale—
angles, lines, tangents as we swing
from west to east, lean into night
and ride the spin toward first light,
the slow-ordered music
of true north slowly tilting.

Photograph above by Daniel Burleson: "This is another Autumn image taken from Babel Tower, a popular hiking destination in the Linville Gorge. The two distant mountain peaks are Hawksbill Mountain (left) and Table Rock Mountain (near center). Image Taken on October 20th, 2012."

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