FOX CREEK CABIN
By Saundra Middleton, Anchorage
Blistered heels in boots twelve miles old.
Packs, five meals shy of the four-day load, dropped
On the porch of the hiker’s haven.
Sox dried, bellies fed, laughter squeals
Over the cascading creek,
Until yawns welcome early bedtime hugs.
A porcupine prickle whittles away
The posts beneath our sleepless bunks.
Shrouded midnight sun conceals
The trees amongst the forest,
From those beady-eyed beasts.
Wood-splintering, chiseling incisors
Gnaw fear into my brood’s tired bones.
Wobbly quills scurry with early morning
Squeaks of varying pitch and timbre,
At our grumbling footfalls on the cabin floor.
We move on in rain sodden packs,
Weighing us down, slowing us down,
Pushing us on to the trailhead;
Only to find our beacon of hope
Dimmed, and won’t start.