lush existence bleak
in deep thickets,
you came alone
to clear your head,
wandered recklessly
instead, wound up
turned around,

seated now,
on steep ground,
nearly defeated in this
dense dark green doldrum,

where winter light
infiltrates only intermittent
flashes, more to distort
than clarify, flickers
like a strobe
spun in slow motion,

what the compass
calls north might as
well be south, southwest,
might as well be east,
in every possible
direction out
a gnarled branch
gobbed with leaf,
cut off stems
grab your pack,
poke your eye,
scrape your neck,
earth muck beneath
a slough to trudge,
mud clings like a lover’s
grudge, bootholds either
stuck in slosh or worse,
slipping off,
a dreary mist
engulfs each

but this is not your
first time to cry
a hopeless dirge.
soon you’ll have
miles between you
and this dreadful urge.

curse not this life.
wish not for death.
you are not lost.
the trail’s ahead.
drink water.