My Burdens

Do you remember that time when we got lost camping in the mountains?

When I asked if your pack was heavy, you assured me it wasn’t

You used our last ace bandage to tie a nice tight brace

Around the cotton you used to clean a small cut

I received when I brushed by a thorn patch.

The second canteen you brought with you, filled with fresh water,

You gave to me and with a smiling eyes said, “I’m sorry, I forgot I packed an extra.”

When we finally made it home after being lost,

I put my gear down on the cabin floor

And sat in the nearest chair, completely exhausted.

I didn’t even look up to see if you had made it in the door.

I saw you walk gingerly into your room

And with the biggest smile of the day,

You turned around and said: “I guess we made it.”

I smiled back and said “Yeah, it wasn’t so bad—getting lost, you know?”

You laughed and said, “I guess not.”

I went into my room and lay on the best bed in the cabin;

With the freshest sheets, and the coolest breeze.

While I had my door open to catch the breeze,

I saw you hobble out into the kitchen,

Wincing and grimacing, and with a heavy limp.

You drank glass after glass of water until the water pressure weakened.

You had gashes down your legs that began to blacken.

After you made it back to your room to sleep,

I went to the kitchen and saw your pack by mine.

Yours must have been at least twice the size of mine,

And I only counted one canteen.

Joshua Smith is an English major, with a concentration in creative writing, at West Chester University of Pennsylvania.