NR Digital

Poetry

by Stephen Scaer

LONG TRAIL

You can spot the better hikers by
the lightness of their steps, and how their packs
seem much too small. They’ve learned they shouldn’t try
to carry their whole lives upon their backs.
Inside their tidy rectangles they keep
the minimum they need to make their homes.
They eat two protein bars and fall asleep,
snug inside their instant nylon domes.
Though I go hiking several times a year,
I always carry much more than I need:
outside, my pack is hung with cooking gear,
inside, the books I probably won’t read;
and when I raise my tent, unwelcome guests
crowd a cluttered mind that never rests.

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