Hiking, Pilot Mountain


Image by goodtofu

we found the yellow
bandana tied around
the thin pine tree’s
base. Whose do you
think it is? Julie asked.
Of course, there was no
way we could know.
Maybe we should take it,
she said. But we didn’t,
perhaps someone left
it there to light their way
home or perhaps it was
dropped from an overstuffed
backpack and another hiker
tied it to the tree. Either way
it wasn’t ours, so we left
it, walked our miles, camped
and in the morning it was gone.
This, for reasons I can’t explain,
filled my heart like our view
of the lake by our campsite
so perfectly round and still
the water reflecting everything
we did or didn’t do back to us.


Steve Cushman earned an MFA from UNC-Greensboro and has published three novels. His poetry collection, How Birds Fly, won the 2018 Lena Shull Book Award

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