Hike in the Rockies – by Phyllis Carito

For Roland – 1975-2017

I might have missed
the curved horns on his tilted head
or his heart-shaped hooves balanced
on the rock edge right above us,
if you hadn’t circled me with your arm,
guided us a step back on the path.

The next moments frozen in time.
This bighorn sheep and our stunned stillness,
the exchanged looks of awe,
the quiet, the path not ours to claim.
How adept his wooly body turned
straight up that rock face
so quickly, and we so slowly moved on.

Ahead of me your strong legs, wool socks,
and LL Bean hiking boots,
your grandpa Cicchetti’s broad shoulders,
your dark hair circling the nape of your neck.
You slowed down for me, to catch up,
took my hand to ascend to the spot
you wanted to share –
a mother and son vista.


Phyllis Carito MFA, writer, educator. Books: barely a whisper, The Stability of Trees in The Winds of Grief, Worn Masks, Travel Light and More Than Making Ends Meet. Other work in anthologies: Wild Crone Wisdom; Gray Love; Gathering Flowers; and literary magazines: Passager Journal, Voices in Italian Americana, Inkwell Review, Vermont Literary Review, and Trolley (NYS Writer’s Institute.) Website: phylliscarito.weebly.com