The Savage (K2)

by Tabatha Stirling

Rises monstrous out of the Baltoro Glacier

Playing poker with oxygen levels

Plays leap frog with embolisms.

Malice and vanity join forces so

murder guns the air even before

the Death Zone.  Down suits, bold and cocky

registers the climber's ambitions.


The Serac , a crisp, white wall of kill,

threatens to round and pound for

days before it does so,

a devious cancer waiting for its moment.

Art's rescue was in full flow when

the avalanche took him and he faded into



All the boys gone, doing what they loved

Big Ger and Rolf, who left his Cecilie

on the ropes. Wilco's lust for his summit

saw the Koreans tangled and questions asked.

No answers, though, and ninety different stories

Crowded into a bottleneck of truth and

lies as the moans of Winter's

ghosts howled louder.