Winner of the English Forum poetry division.

At the overlook, bright red paint
Bursts against the dull rock face,
Trickling down like blood oozing from
An open wound.

The mountains mourn. They miss their
Native caretakers, those made to march
Far away into the flatlands, if they were not first
Killed among these hills.

In their absence blight burned through the
Chestnut, stripping every limb of life and leaf,
Leaving behind a copse of corpses.  

Now vigilantes raid the ridges,
Lawless and licentious, ravishing the
Rock face, painting it red.

There is another overlook further down the
Parkway. Its view is wider, miles and miles of
Mountains curving around the cliff side in an
Inert embrace.

The trees, dormant and devoid of bud this
Early in the year, cover the peaks. Their
Bare heads rise up like gnarled whorls of wool,
Purple-gray nubs of the quilt God knit for these hills.
Tucked tight together, the mountains rise and
Fall like long bodies lying languidly on the forest
Floor: dip of waist, swell of stomach, pinnacle of nose.

One can almost see their shallow breaths beneath the
Sky, beneath the blanket, as they sleep, awaiting the
Spring that always comes.