in the glow of the sunburst

the three of us plus fern the dog
perched on the side of the trail,
but mostly in it, in the glow of the sunburst
as the light snow drifts and drops
some flakes glinting as danielle
pours the oolong tea into three 
mint-green ceramic cups

i’m seeing these mountains all the time
i say it’s good to be in them

the steep shortcut we take that
leads us to the stones laid out
like cross hairs but not cross hairs at all,
each point aligning with a 
cardinal direction and the bright
red of carnations left and this
is where i place the small heart-shaped
stone i had been carrying
along the way

the hole worn into the map
next to the you are here arrow
from so many fingers touching it
and tracing along the route they just walked
or are about to head out on
and hilariously, after i comment on this
phenomenon of worn out spots on maps
where people touch them, we notice
a taped-on note asking people to look
at the map with their eyes, not their fingers

and how we stand there laughing
at the trail on the map that we thought
was a ridgeline and when i notice
the blue creekline running alongside it
we joke about how cool it is – 
the ridgeline creek
how we joke about the sign marked
more difficult is denoting the 
tough mudder trail
(how the people who took it are 
rope-climbing up to the ridge
over a pit filled with crocodiles and 
scuttling along the ground
to avoid getting caught by the barbed wire obstacle, etc)

this one’s for you, mica:
when nate asks what i’m looking forward to
upon my return, the first thing i say
is playing ultimate frisbee
and the other thing i say is
village fire

ink kin i call aurvi
who is the essay/non-fiction-writing version
of myself and i am the poem-writing version
of her
(with the shared acknowledgement that certainly
there are differences between our 
‘real lives’ back with our families and where we live)
guess i’m not a butcher caroline says sawing
with a small knife impossibly
working through a raw red hunk
of meat


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