The Ghost of Mazama by Marianne Brems

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The Ghost of Mazama
xxxxxxxxxxxCrater Lake, Crater Lake, Oregon
by Marianne Brems

The Rim Road around Crater Lake
with a dusting of snow beside it
is nearly all mine.
In temporal sunlight
I ride on two slim tires
around a lake without tributaries,
deeper than a skyscraper.

My core swells in warmth
pushing heat out my arms
as I ascend,
receding again during descent
when fierce wind imposes.
The swing from one to the other
like a trapeze as Watchman Outlook
nods in acknowledgment.

Where glacial blue and shale gray meet
below a thin white blanket,
I am a tiny traveler
following a concrete cut
in the pine dotted flank
of once molten Mount Mazama.

As the autumn sun passes midday,
a forest ready to host hibernation,
lures me on
around this ancient caldera,
the ghost of Mazama
hovering near my sternum.

First published by Willows Wept (June 20, 2020).

PHOTO: Crater Lake, Crater Lake, Oregon. Photo by Caryle Barton on Unsplash


oregon map

NOTE: Mount Mazama is a complex volcano in Oregon, in a segment of the Cascade Volcanic Arc and Cascade Range. Most of the mountain collapsed following a major eruption approximately 7,700 years ago. The volcano is in Klamath County, in the southern Cascades, 60 miles north of the Oregon-California border. Its collapse formed a caldera that holds Crater Lake. The mountain is in Crater Lake National Park. Mount Mazama originally had an elevation of 12,000 feet, but following its eruption was reduced to 8,157 feet. Crater Lake is 1,943 feet deep, the deepest freshwater body in the United States. Post-caldera activity has included the production of the Wizard Island cinder cone volcano in Crater Lake.

PHOTO: Crater Lake, Oregon, showing the Wizard Island cinder cone volcano. Photo by Sébastien Goldberg on Unsplash

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I cycled around Crater Lake in early October 2019.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marianne Brems’ first poetry chapbook is Sliver of Change (Finishing Line Press, 2020). Her second chapbook Unsung Offerings is forthcoming in 2021. Her poems have appeared in literary journals, including The Pangolin Review, Nightingale & Sparrow, The Sunlight Press, and The Tiny Seed Literary Journal. She lives in Northern California. Visit her at

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