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--- D A V I D   B R E S K I N    

We received the fax by yak: her north face lies thick with snow and weather isn't hopeful. Just like last time on that face when my toes died. They came off, then bigger bits. But climbs since then have me convinced, and now I love my calves. A secret edge: steel don't frostbite.

Last night in tent I dreamt of parachutes and saws, tea time on the summit singing Miss Otis regrets she is unable

to belay today. Then, an ice cave dirge. My daughters threw flowers which broke against the glass lid of my coffin. My wife wailed

and moved to Kansas, where it's flat as death and Jayhawks sing hello. Now Sherpas bring biscuits for breakfast and we're back humping

loads. Base camp feels like blackboard fingernails erasing every angle of ascent. Humming glaciers plow the laggards into

chalk. Mandalas of gravity spin rocks the size of homes. I wonder if my mail has found my daughters in their little room

with fuzzed wallpaper clouds. Snow, discussion, plans, routes. We are to wear our sponsor's heart on our sleeves at all times. Film's paramount

for further finance. Wait for the cameras at the fourth icefall crevasse--our dragon. The narrator's voice will lift the drama

higher 'tween ads for trucks and Mutual of Omaha. (At home, watchers will pad into the kitchen, get themselves a beer.)

He will cheer on risk and wind, while the ring of my metal bones on rock adds texture to the soundtrack. This cold scrape satisfies

all needs of mind and body, the viewers will be told, wrongly. Be told I've forgotten the past, I'm living in the moment. Cut.

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