Revisiting Alm Mountain

Heidi was on a roll as she plotted

her return to her beloved

mountain, sequestered soft

brotchen in her ample pockets

where she sat beside Clara in the

Dorflii mansion, slipped away

after the meal to push them

to the back of the armoire’s shelf

for the grandmother awaiting her

return to that high Alpine haven


only to find them tumbling from

their shawled cocoon later to thud

like rocks at the feet of Herr Stresemann,

plans dashed at her feet, crumbs on the terrazzo,

brokenhearted even as she prepared

to return to Schwaenli and Distelfink,

the querulous Peter and the Alm Uncle,

deemed now only to be a sleepwalker

instead of the household’s ghost, armed

with the good doctor’s prescription

for mountain air to cure her depression.


Herr Stresemann gifted her then with dozens

of rolls to replace the hoarded ones once

he learned of her plan and soon sent Clara

to recuperate,too, never guessing that a

jealous Peter would send her wheelchair

careening off the side of the mountain,

her walking then in sheer frustration to

see the flowers much to Heidi’s delight.


Some two centuries later, Spyri’s tale

still enchants, but it’s always to the armoire

I return, that bundle of hope, roll after roll.

Reprise Heidi’s daily ritual after the big meal,

the race to her room, the tippy toed stretch

for that top shelf, the untying and retying

of her favorite shawl that held not just bread

but the future, shaped as rollen, in her hands.