Seven miles from everywhere-----

Poems by New Yorkers posting on holiday from the Long Trail / Appalachian in Vermont. between Seth Warner Congdon Shelter , August 30th, 2014
She was plopped down right on the trail, walking sticks blocking the way. She wrote for a good long time and without hesitation. I was able to rest my feet, sit quietly and listen to the woods. She’s a section hiker, quiet, self-assured, private. Lives in Massachusetts, writes freelance.

Seven miles from everything.
no cell service
seen no one for hours
flies playing tricks,
and each time I think it’s a hiker.
The birch bark’s like scripture
and electric fungi blossom
out of rot.
Forgotten bag of flip flops
hosts a chipmunk
a note warns:
“Trail turns right.
Beware the Bennington Triangle.”
Flattened grass around berries
a sure sign of bears or thirsty hikers like me?
Rocks the size of billboards
lay casually along the trail
sliced into three
they are of Jack’s giant’s world
tipped over the clouds
cast down,
mistaken for eggs.
I walk with wood sticks
where others use metal poles
that leave curved scratches on
moist rocks.
A passerby every hour now
a buff engineer, a ringer for Jim Carey,
his trip, split by family emergency
began north. He is southbound now,
and will meet himself in the middle
young thru hikers whip off ear buds as they pass
expecting at least a hello or to give one.
It goes like this:
How ya doing?
Where you heading?
Mass border
Where you coming from?
Route 2
Do you pass Bliss?
Shadow? Painted Pony?
Heard of ‘em.
One bright-eyed fellow stops to chat
he’s got a power ranger tucked
into a loop of his pack.
We connect, offer
“Route 9 is easy.”
“Good water at second shelter.”
“No rain til midnight.”
“Have a good hike.”
The trail’s full of lingo I don’t remember:
“Zero day”
“Wake and bake”
“Ultra lighters”
“Trail Magic.”
Everyone speaks of McDonalds
like Shangri-la
holy trail food
where carbos are king
and Pop Tarts queen.
It can’t be helped.
The trail demands goals,
demands hustle, mileage,
Miles demand discarding images
of love and regret
past and woe,
but it’s all rehash
and brain dump
No matter the magic,
the trail does not reveal.
It has no point of view
It couldn’t care less.
You will have to figure out
on your own
your train is heading.

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