Dry Creek

Dry Creek
by Paul J. Willis

Dry Creek, that you are not.
     The trail walks a checkered log
across your rapids. Yesterday
     I stood in the snow where you began,
white as the foam that courses
     now through moss, through boulders,
under the cedars and the hemlock
     to the gray, impassive lake.

I think I am alone with you
     until a young man rounds the bend
above the crossing—one leg flesh
     and bone, one leg sprung steel—
and he treads the log without a pause.
     His pack appears to be no burden.
He is heading, he says
     to me, for Desolation.

—Ross Lake National Recreation Area

—from Deer at Twilight: Poems from the North Cascades