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Hiking the Gorge

We’re hiking the gorge, this poem written by stone,

down the path thick with leaves, and

stone steps cut into the steepest declines.

At the bottom, ice coats the shale ledge.

We watch our feet instead of the view,

too aware of how easily limbs break,

how quickly a slip could shatter something inside.

Ahead of us, two hikers call down to someone below.

When we reach them on the bridge, we lean over to see—

Three teenagers on the side trail

that leads straight down, behind the waterfall.

The hikers above, middle aged, our age,

are calling warnings about mud and ice

are calling Careful, Careful.

The teenagers wave and laugh

across the steep distance between us.

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