Wil, you killed yourself
and left no note,
no explanation why,
so I drew a map.
The contour lines start with Commonwealth Basin,
you know, that side trip off of the PCT up by
then I penned in the valley,
with a dotted line of trail switchbacks
crawling up the ridge.
As maps go, this one’s in autumn
and there are tamaracks, maples, and huckleberries
in hues so fiery, they bounce off the chill in the air
that says, “Maybe snow.”
I drew some asterisks for flakes.
There’s a little lake below the trail,
with ice on the edges. In fairy tales,
water often means the subconscious,
so I scrawled a large sea monster
breaking the ice, thrashing.
I inked your spirit into the subalpine fir,
our witty jokes into the lupine,
and every piece of sadness got stuck
to the mountain blueberries.
At the top of the basin,
there’s a little point on the ridge.
No trail, but I drew it in with the crags,
the broken talus slopes that seem
There’s a crack
in the summit, a small crevice
that looks like an ink blot
between the wavy contours.
No wider than a billfold, really.
That’s where I hid the map.<
And if you’re still lost,
still drifting around those cold windy summits,
I hope you find it. I hope you sit down up there,
where you can see Alpental, I-90,
the North Cascades.
I hope that you pull my map from the rock,
orient yourself, and see a trail
that you can walk.
Thu, April 1, 2010
by David Steele, Senior, Pacific Lutheran University filed under