There by Sandy Coomer

My father hiked trails to get there.

Didn’t matter if a storm loomed or daylight faded,
once he started nothing could change his plans.
Rainbow Falls and Sweat Heifer, Gregory Bald, long
hard sections on the Appalachian. There was no
dawdling. No pause. Only steady onward progress.
I understood in the struggle to keep up, to ignore
the blisters and throbbing muscles, I was
an inconvenience, a waif behind his sturdy back.

I held the vistas as I walked,

the sunsets and breathless streams, glimpsing secrets –
a red mushroom, a spiraling vine, a wood thrush
whispering kisses and camouflaged in leaves.
I kept these for later. Holding my father’s trail books,
I fingered the check-marks, the dates, restless treks
that dog-eared our family, crisscrossed our history.

There is an unmarked place

where the creek bends, where Trillium and Snowdrop
lift white and sacred from the dirt. There, the woodpecker
drills for beetles. There, the horned owl calls for dusk.
And there I stand in the shattering light of a falling sky,
the path splayed out in front of me like a scar.



Sandy Coomer is a poet, mixed media artist, and endurance athlete. Her poetry has most recently been published in Lindenwood Review, Qu Literary Journal, POEM, and Hypertrophic Literary Magazine. She is the author of two collections of poetry: Continuum (Finishing Line Press), and The Presence of Absence (Winner of the 2014 Janice Keck Literary Award for Poetry). A third collection, Rivers Within Us, is forthcoming from Unsolicited Press. She lives in Brentwood, TN where she grows blackberries and takes cell phone pictures of flowers.