Trudging uphill, I turn onto a deer path
then follow the switchbacks you marked
with orange streamers until I arrive

at a cairn and overlook where I view
the gold run of cottonwoods through the city;
western tanagers migrate through the city.

As I bask in the heat of the afternoon,
I cannot say I had the courage
to march on a bridge for the right

to vote and be beaten; at an antiwar rally,
I retreated when police, mounted on horses,
crossed the street with batons swinging.

As I stride down the switchbacks, I can’t
put into words the radiance of this day;
I stop at a robin’s nest lined with mud

fallen in the grass and scintillate
when at night we step into the yard
and stare up through apple branches at stars.

Originally published in Big Other. Copyright © 2021 by Arthur Sze. Used with the permission of the poet.