The logic of a mountain trail map,
broken line of “old logging road” climbing
continuously up contour lines, fades
when the high-pitched yelp of wild turkey
startles your stride.
You are here now. Lost but found, finding
rest down a steep slope after skating leaf litter,
palming tree trunks, to the rocky stream bank where
you stop and settle with legs crossed and cool against stone.
Across the stream shadows play gently with sunlight,
hypnotic back and forth as a soft breeze moves leaves,
branches in the first climbing trees, until the darker shadow
of hardwood canopy closing under tulip, chestnut, hemlock.
Rich smell of moss and deadfall. Stretch out your legs,
ease back on your pack against rock. Watch and listen
for hours: birds chirp and sing, squirrels squeak, trout glide
silently under the burble of water around rocks. Until,
you are just the largest animal.
Poem by Steven Croft
Steven Croft lives on a barrier island off the coast of Georgia on a property lush with vegetation. His work has appeared in Quaci Press Magazine, Red Eft Review, Tiny Seed Literary Journal, Willawaw Journal, Poets Reading the News, North of Oxford, Beloved Blue River, and other places, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.