TO MY HIKING PARTNER
Your pack looks like the one John Denver wore
when he was getting Rocky Mountain high.
The frame is bent, the straps can’t take much more.
Your jeans and flannel coat will never dry
if they get wet. Let’s hope we don’t get caught
by squalls on Thunder Ridge this afternoon.
Bold move to hike in boots that you just bought.
Don’t whine — we’ll stop to treat those blisters soon.
So far your luck has held, though you don’t care
for maps and packing lists. But will you keep
your winning streak? My money’s on the bear
if you continue eating where you sleep,
and leaving dishes close enough to touch.
My friend, God loves a fool, but not that much.
— This poem appears in the January 26, 2015, print issue of National Review.