Water beads down the tent.
I listen to the drops,
the rise and fall of your breath.
I roll over—
study sunburnt cheeks,
the wilderness of your unshaven jaw line.
I wrestle from our sleeping bag,
unzip the rainfly, peel warmth
to see pines coated in mist.
I stand on a flat rock, a jutting finger bone
that points towards Red River Gorge.
Somewhere below, an unmarked trail.
Tree roots became footholds,
rungs to a ladder we ascended.
I plant myself, brush arms with forked pines.
The canyon sweats,
entangles with fog below.
I root down.
A poem by Shelby Newsom from Volume 1 of Deep Wild: Writing from the Backcountry, August 2019. The deadline to submit poetry for Volume 2 is December 31. (Prose deadlines are January 31). To submit/subscribe, visit deepwildjournal.com