Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Michigan
They told us, “Colors will be past peak,
you should have come last week.” No room
last week was busy
and it rained.
This week we packed
flannel-lined jeans and base layers,
hiking boots, a few t-shirts,
our heavy winter coats. After all
it is the UP
it could snow.
Gus kept an eye on us loading up the car.
In went his bag filled with bowls, treats
and food for a week. He was quick
to jump in the back seat
when we arrived. Water!
A black lab streak to the big lake.
He shook sand free
beneath the unseasonably
We took short hikes on park trails, carefully
placing each footfall
roots and rocks, balancing
yesterday and tomorrow.
Like gold doubloons
wind-blown leaves buried
the forest floor. It was true. Colors
a bit past peak. Not unlike
late August and the sweet, deep woods dripped
shades of green, speckled orange
mushrooms pushed through rain-soaked oak leaves
and grew shawls of white mould
I wanted the sweetness to be sweet
grass waving in the northern field
I wanted the humidity to be curling
smoke waved overhead
at a native prayer ceremony
instead, leaves already lying
on the forest floor, all I could smell
was the fading perfume of funeral
Tags: nature, poetry
Sunrise a week ago.
My birthday ski, one year ago.
the sun rises relentlessly northward
degree by degree,
like a battalion marching to the front
and daylight lengthens by 13 minutes in a week
record temps teased summer for eight days in mid-March,
and coaxed crocuses
to push toward the light, not understanding
the danger, like infantry brainwashed
to react and not to think
on this day last year
buds bunkered down
below the snow
and we glided above on long boards, glad
for the cease-fire
before the spring-riot growth,
sweating only from exertion
Tags: poetry, spring