Karen Kunc   © 2011 All Rights Reserved

Lightning Strike Kills Woman Just before Marriage Proposal
            Max Patch Bald Mountain                     
                Madison County, North Carolina

Some people climb there just for the stars—
a satiation in a sky so close the clouds
slip silky and damp right through you.

As for the view, there is no valley,
only a horizon of mountains fallen
open into a panorama of more—

Unakas, Smokies, Balsams and Black,
ridges that lose color with distance,
silhouettes of undulations visible for miles.

Savage is a beautiful word, don’t you think?
Like sweet brier or glissando—
the way the bruising cloudbank skimmed

its shadow across the summit, blade by blade.
The lovers ascended the path undaunted.
Thunder quivering in the mayapples, sun

breaking through with the oddest moment
of brilliant illumination before he’d lain
backwards on the trail, his soles smoking,

diamond ring, a thin-lipped O singed into his hip.
Hadn’t she meant to straddle two states that day—
North Carolina, Tennessee, divined by the crest

of inclines that lumbered upward, but what
did she mean just before she died when she said,
God, Baby, look at it! Isn’t it beautiful?


Laura Sobbott Ross
Copyright © 2011  

Laura Sobbott Ross’ work appears in The Valparaiso Review, Florida Review, Calyx, Columbia Review, Natural Bridge, Tar River Poetry, and Cold Mountain Review, among many others. She was a finalist in the Creekwalker Poetry Prize and an Honorable Mention in the Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Contest. Her chapbook is called A Tiny Hunger.

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