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Day Hike by Dede Cummings

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Dede Cummings

Day Hike

—for Sierra

The snowshoe hare tracks
have no trouble telling us

the way. Our breath is hard and fast
startling even the gnarled branches

from their slumber. The etched
mountain does not beckon from afar:

rather its seat of glory defies gravity
on a trail such as this we edge carefully

over ice and our grippers secure the way.
Never fearing to fall the urge to tell this child

my story comes hard and fast, a claw mark
on a beech tree with the delicate

leaves still and kind.

Moving around the forest daily, I am like an animal
that has only survival in its paws, a dried apple on the ground

retains its color, a burnt fern blackened with its fronds
turned inward weeping toward the frozen ground—

a sudden snap in the canopy and a barred owl is stirred from
its Great Slumber—all the clamoring in the world can’t

stop its flight. A moment later
the puff of branch snow is all that remains.

Dede CummingsDede Cummings is a writer and publisher. Her poetry has been published in Mademoiselle, The Lake, InQuire, Vending Machine Press, Kentucky Review, Connotation Press, Mom Egg Review, and Bloodroot Literary Magazine. A Discover/The Nation poetry semi-finalist, her poetry collection entitled To Look Out From was the winner of the 2016 Homebound Publications.


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