The summer we backpacked into the mountains

we camped by a stream at the bottom of a canyon

The first morning, groggy out of our sleeping bags,

we lit the fire again, drank tea until the sun

warmed the boulders around us and the hawks hung high

above the pines, aspens and spruce


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


We undressed, four young women, four young men,

chests, arms, breasts and buttocks free of blemish,

edged into the chilling, twisting waters of the stream,

dove and laughed over and around each other

until the world we hoped to evade found us again

We toweled with long sleeved shirts on the flat boulders

in wildflower air swirling through trees and shrub

The sun dried our hair, warmed our bones,

lulled us into a fugue of a life we would leave

for draft cards, hand-scribbled signs and tear gas


Waking, we combed knots from each other’s manes

until the strands gleamed blackberry and honey hues

The stream tumbling over the stones flashed

hypnotic in our eyes, reflected off our faces


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

glowed in the fresh cold given up by natural waters