Some thought she had slipped, the plank
glazed slick with ice, or maybe
already cold beyond care,
drowsy and weary, bare feet
tempting a creekbed’s promise
of sleep, though she struggled out,
her trail a handprint of stars
rising toward a dazzle of white
where sun and snow met. They found
her homespun dress, underclothes,
before they found her, her eyes
open as the sky, as cold,
as far away. Her father
climbed the nearest tree, brought down
green sprigs, berries bright as blood,
weaved a garland for her brow,
and that was how they left her,
wearing a crown, unburied,
knowing they’d never hunt here
or build a cabin where she
undressed, left their world as death
closed around her like a room
and she lay dying on the snow,
a bride awaiting her groom.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Ron Rash's poem The Ascent

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