The Mountaineer

They found his body, cold
kissing Mt. Everest
decades after he failed
to reach the summit.

He chose the dangerous
life, avoided a common death
like pneumonia or cancer.
I'm sure he heard trumpets

and opera music in
the piercing winds,
his whistling, labored
final breathes.

The rocks above him
remained untouched by
his vanity or poignancy.

His corpse became
a history lesson,
his frozen, broken bones
picked clean by hawks

and still, his bootprints
pointing towards the sky,
etched in ice, in some small
way, kept him immortal.

They left him just the way
he died, persistent.

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