The bone was picked clean, easy to see
sharp contrast of white against the mountain ground
there were no other bones, just the
spine and pelvis and I had to get closer
stepping from rock to rock
tip toeing on the soil careful not to disturb
spring wildflowers trying to bloom.
Up close I snapped a picture
unprepared for how this bone made me
realized I walked on sacred ground
and was in the midst of spirits
a large animal, an elk or moose
bones scattered on the mountain.
I remembered the time I visited Pompeii
and the most popular attraction for
tourists were the preserved bodies
twisted in pain or panic.
I felt this was not something
that should attract a crowd.
I’m well aware the mountains can be cruel
offering life as well as death
and this was not something
I hadn’t seen before.
Still I bowed my head
awed and disturbed
by how nature has her way
let myself mourn this once living animal
and whispered to myself
rest in peace.