Each year the green has grown
to cover bare hillsides a bit more,
the new shoots and cones
a pale green against the sky.
The noble spines stand straight
with prickly arms raised
forming a herringbone-patterned ridge
in the afternoon light.
Looking closer, we see a few solitary
rusty, orange pinions with dying arms
stretched weakly among the green,
testaments of long-ago dragon breath.
St. Helens sits on her misty throne
overseeing hummocks standing ‘round
patiently awaiting another slide
or blow or blast from their silent queen.
At Johnston Ridge the tourists gather
to buy a t-shirt or cap. They speak Italian,
Japanese, or an unfamiliar tongue,
schooling their children in volcano.
We take one more photo because
green has grown since last year.
Our pink wristbands still hang in place.
We’ll wear them all the way home.