The summer they backpacked into the mountains

they camped by a stream at the bottom of a canyon

The first morning, groggy out of their sleeping bags,

they lit the fire again, drank tea until the sun

warmed the boulders around them and the hawks hung high

above the pines, aspens and spruce


By afternoon, at that altitude, the sun heated the canyon


They undressed, four young women, four young men,

yet free of scars on their chests, arms, breasts and buttocks,

edged into the chilling, twisting waters of the stream,

dove laughing over and around each other

until what they had been trying to escape found them again

They toweled with their long sleeved shirts on the flat boulders

in wildflower air swirling through trees and shrub

The sun dried their skin, warmed their bones,

lulled them into a fugue of a world they would leave

for draft cards, hand scribbled signs, tear gas and handcuffs


Waking, they combed knots from each other’s long hair

until the strands gleamed blackberry and honey

The stream tumbling over the stones flashed

hypnotic in their eyes, reflected off their faces


In the crash of the stream and at that moment their skin

glowed in the fresh cold given up by natural waters