The wind is much too strong. He tries to shelter
where a split rock hides a narrow patch of grass
beneath the summit shining like stained glass
and sees the sun go down on his adventure.
He thinks about the shell he didn’t pack.
He has a box of matches, but no fuel,
and when the weather changed he was a fool
to push on when the ranger said go back.
He knows it’s cold. When he exhales the steam
solidifies his beard against his face.
But he is summer warm and folds his fleece
on a smooth stone and curls into a dream:
Six angels from the AMC hut climb
the ridge to feed him coffee and massage
his limbs before they bear him to their lodge.
He watches as their ponytails keep time.
If only he looked eastward he would find
a cabin waiting with a stove and bed
by Lonesome Lake two hundred yards ahead.
Exhausted hikers rarely face the wind.