Finally it alights as small and fragile as a dragon -fly
And now I must take my thick growing fear
And drag it across the tarmac with my heavy load of safety gear
Have these two tiny pilots ever been in the sky?
Diamox, fleecy sox, water -filter, gortex jackets
Wasn’t there something else? What have we forgotten?
Check the list again. Oh dear-needle and cotton.
Tick Antibiotics, chlorine tablets, guide -books, rehydration packets
And why are the pilots consulting the aircraft manual?

Up, up we bob, cosmic dust floating in the air
Whining through the great tortured hills- so defiant
a mosquito hovering around the flanks of a giant
I am holding up the plane with the crust of my fear
And clutch my bits and pieces with sweaty hands, rigid in my seat
sucking myself in as we push into this deep glacial rift
then tip downwards and see far below, the tiny runway clinging to the cliff
the engine wails in protest. I close my eyes, cover my ears, curl up my feet
Oh god, I think of the eight tourists killed in the crash last week!

A touch on my shoulder, gentle in a way I have not know
I am tied so tightly to my things and to staying alive, whatever that means
That when I twist in my seat it hurts, but looking into her eyes, it seems
That she has captured light from glinting snow peaks and hearth glow
She holds stillness like a cup of water-and smiles with the knowing of gods
And tells me in silver fish words of an ancient tongue that I am safe on this quest
For now and always, for I am that which she greets, not the rest
Turning back to myself, a clear space in the roar, I still see her smooth head nod
And from those quiet eyes a question grew and sat with me for years “how can those who have so little have so much and those who have so much, so little?”