The smoky blue mountains are sheeted with tan and brown rock

the road twisting grey through the spectrum of gold and fire

leaves drifting in the wind like whirligig seed wishes

the mist billowing up in the valley and tickling

the roots of the trees perched atop the cliffs.

Small rocks, big rocks, rough rocks, smooth rocks

arches and tunnels and cracks and corners

square crash-pad people wandering through the forest

chalk snow and cold shoes and hand warmers you find

days after in the pockets of your coat.

The snick-shutter of the camera lens

the whirrr of the polaroid processing a memory

the way my eyes zero in on the blood I left

behind that finger-bucket rail on that

pesky V3 with the terrible topout.

Laughter and board games and mangoes for breakfast

too many people sharing one bathroom

deciding who gets to play first

by who took a crap last, the warmth of

snuggling with a friend I thought I’d lost

so long ago and feeling glad to be me

in what feels like even longer

grasping at a few days when I don’t

have to sleep alone and am not filled

with emptiness at the sight of the sun in the morning

and every night before I close my eyes

my fingers find the smooth wooden back

of a bird tucked into the small pocket

of my pack, keeping you as close

to my heart as ever.