Ice Age Trail: Pike Lake Segment
The yellow blaze forks.
I don’t understand the choice.
This is a non-loop trail.
The ribbon of black and green
garter snake shares the sunshine
with me as I consult the map.
It is and it isn’t a loop trail —
it can be if you want.
I choose the tower view of wind
sculpted lake in gray-green marble,
splashes of vermilion on green
like the first raindrops of fall.
I follow a path I walked in spring
when I was filled with anger, fighting
against a world that no longer made sense,
struggling to problem solve the impossible,
seeking action to hide grief.
The trees here wear yellow sashes —
warning, the hillside is eroding, leaf
rot oozes from earth’s torn flesh.
I feel it here, the shredded black edges
of grief, waiting for me like an old pack
left unshouldered until I regained
my strength to pick it back up.
I put it on like a shadow
heavy as a black hole, it pulls
warm wet streaks down my face.
I turn back on my tracks and climb
the tower a second time because I can.
I am alone and there is no one
to complain about the extra steps.
The clouds thicken and the wind grows
cooler. The weather is changing.
Katrina Serwe, BS, MS, PhD…it took her three degrees to figure out she’s really a poet. Now she’s on Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail writing poems and sharing hiking haiku on Instagram. Her poems have been published in Bramble, Moss Piglet, The Little Book Project, Muse 5, and the Solitary Plover.