Once the black turns blue, darkness can be penetrated
(unlike the nigredo which absorbs all insights back into
itself, compounding the darkness with literal, impenet-
rable introspections

More rocks have risen in the river, too slippery to cross: the void of
the universe's creation is the calculation we fear to make. On a map
of my childhood, the Terra Incognita was painted with "the white worn-out arrogance of the spirit." But it's the dark I feared, where Pandora's box holds the original contamination, and there is no border between what's seen and what's unobservable; between what was, what is,
and what
on the switchbacks, loose sand, a hundred foot drop past foliage
just hanging on.

A blue jay lands on
the blackened limb
of a nameless tree.

Rising above the valley with backpack, water bottle and first aid kit,
a heavy sweater stripped off and tucked away, the mountain, steep
but at peace with itself, forgiving the fire and the flood that followed
in its