“THERE’S NO THROUGH TRAIL” —HAN-SHAN, TRANSLATED BY GARY SNYDER
/ Release Point

Release Point

by Gerry Sloan

The heft of a palm-sized pebble
is all it takes to get in touch
with what we left behind or lost,
fingering the texture, testing

the age-old fact of gravity,
wondering how far we could
toss it in a time when that
would matter, the target

a tree twenty yards away.
If you missed, you’d simply
pick up another pebble
and try again, sighting

the imaginary bullseye
concealed in a stump 
before continuing on,
kicking up a small puff

of dust on the trail in one more
foreshortened summer before
the world as we knew it then
was beginning to end.

Gerry Sloan

About Gerry Sloan

Gerry Sloan (he/him) is a retired music professor living in Fayetteville, Arkansas. His collections are Paper Lanterns (2011) and Crossings: A Memoir in Verse (2017) in addition to six chapbooks, the latest entitled Wild Muse: Ozarks Nature Poetry, a “chapthology” featuring work of 9 poets from the region. Other recent poems appear in Slant, Nebo, Cantos, Xavier Review, Arkansas Review, Blue Unicorn, Mid/South Anthology, Cave Region Review (featured poet), and Elder Mountain (featured poet). He can be reached on Facebook or at gsloan@uark.edu.

Cold Mountain Review is published once a year in the Department of English at Appalachian State University. Support from Appalachian’s Office of Academic Affairs and College of Arts and Sciences enables CMR’s learning and publications program. The views and opinions expressed in CMR do not necessarily reflect those of university trustees, administration, faculty, students, or staff.