Washington & Old Dominion

Zachary Lundgren

As a child I knew this trail the backbone
of our town and that means
the backbone of God gently leading
through chaos the oak
and loblolly and black locust
I never knew where the trail was born
but I know where it goes the water
fountain at the end—a blessing
but one that only makes you softer
and that all didn’t matter much
three boys they broke my nose back
on the trail once and it caught
and dried my blood like a mother
when the coyote came for a kiss
I threw rocks
until he decamped back into bush and pokeberry
and in that quiet
I missed him and didn’t cry
but the day it stroked pine needles
across my palm mapping
its old home the only time walking
back I got lost I got poison
ivy on my arms and hands
and the water fountain busted I almost
but I didn’t I almost choked on all this
and when it kissed—a blessing
forgiving me its soft back and the only path
I honestly can smell like morning

Zachary Lundgren received his MFA in poetry from the University of South Florida and his BA in English from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Currently, he is a PhD candidate in Rhetoric and Composition, with a focus in environmental rhetoric, at East Carolina University. He has had poetry published in several literary journals and magazines, including Louisville Review, Barnstorm Journal, Clockhouse, and the Adirondack Review.