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by April Halprin Wayland

New to Portland,
led by my cousin,
I hike beside her.

The air is saturated.
That blade of grass
glistens as I pass.

The dirt is a loamy red.
My shoes will need a cleaning, I think.
Or maybe I’ll leave them, a soft-stained souvenir.

We crunch up the trail—
something rustles to my right
and is gone.

I pluck a low-hanging emerald leaf,
scrunch it between my fingers,
press it to my nose.

“Isn’t that mountain peak beautiful?”
my cousin asks,
her eyes alive.

Mountain peak?
I look up. I hadn’t seen it.
It is beautiful.

And she?
She didn’t see
the leaf.

published in The Cat ‘n Banjo, January 2006


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