A big woods loop of solitude and freshness.
Killarney’s ambled roaming and balsam-smell—
the sought. Days one through three, settled in and dirtied.
The fourth and fifth, sopping, famished. Six, distrust in nature.
Seven through ten, worst-case imaginings:
better to hike the rescue, or wait, hurt?
Play-acting at self-sufficiency:
yes, can pump water, but no, couldn’t tourniquet.
Ultra-liters, and three black bears—
the only passersby.
Miles of wild blueberries: what I’d been after.
After me: moss’ treachery underfoot.
Asked before departure: the near north’s forested quiet.
The reassessed goal: re-reaching others.
Fewer all-nighters of star-canopied joints—
more early-to-beds and held urine.
Less like ferns and boulders, more like death traps—
forecasting the fallout, should head and rock meet.
From The Grey Tote (Signal Editions, 2013) by Deena Kara Shaffer.