The eyes we share

I was trapped in the back seat of a small Honda Civic, forehead bouncing on the window, and half-dreaming, but mostly half-worrying about the long slog I was about to embark on with my roommate and his father. We were headed up toward the large parking lot and the well maintained Inn and Information center that marks the beginning of the many trails that leads to Camp Muir, our basecamp for the night before heading up to the summit of Mt. Rainier. We planned our trip rather poorly. Too much food, too little sun screen, and I, forgetting that I had tossed out my old and cracked climbing helmet before leaving Europe, still had to find a shop where I could spend 60 dollars purchasing a new one. But the main problem, my odd little brain insisted,  was our bad timing. My biggest frustration: we would be up at camp Muir in the middle of the night, oriented in the direction of the glitter and cluster of far off cities, on July 3rd…the night before a once a year opportunity,mountain clouds permitting, to see with a bird’s view the simultaneous theater of lights exploding into the evening. It was, to me, a total bummer. It did, however, force me to close my eyes, as the suspension-less little sedan throttled through curves, and to imagine the eyes that we all share on this special holiday, where everyone in eager expectation and wonder is staring heavenward at the same amphitheater full of celebration.



By Paul Tomes


Look around you we are watching

Here at the end of a long staircase

We are watching a world get born

In bright scars that burn and heal and burn again

And across the water you are watching

Wrapped in the soft body of a quilt

Like morning light warm in the windowsill


And from some window she too is watching

Rocking a child in half-sleep

The same as the daughter slumped inside the carriage

Beside me where we are watching, all of us,

The sky opening and tossing ribbons of kaleidoscope light

Like flying stars across the mirrors of big buildings


Where from an office the late husband is watching

The trails of fireworks fizzle in fine brightness

And pop silently like baby language against the lake water


Where the thrown reflection of the boatman’s neck and chin 

Is upheld by the same vision of heaven drenched in sulfur 

And color ghosted over with the smoke and awe of the whole city

Watching and out-waiting each breath for the next seam of fire

To burst in the pocket of the evening and flutter like bird’s glitter

Back down toward the ground where we, all of us, are watching


I welcome your thoughts


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