Once, two women hiked a volcano,
stood on the lip, and watched the fire
move in the crater’s mouth.

Neither spoke. Not even when the ground
began to shake and they felt the rumble
through their soles and up their legs.

They just stood there, eyes fixed.
Later both admitted the truth: each felt
an urge to leap.

What is it we could give our lives for?
A mountain, a fire, a view from the cliff.

Every year, on the coast where I live,
tourists die, amazed
by the Monterey Bay, swept from the shelf
of rock overlooking the waves.

And, farther north, some people try to get
so close to grizzly bears
they end up taking their stories with them
into the darkness of the animal itself,

surrendering to its life of fur and forage
to lumber through the woods at night,
becoming, at last,
a gorgeous, insatiable beast.