Dreams of the Trail

I begin to hike South, happy to be back on the trail

I get on a bus which is to shuttle me into town — a town I remember vividly

As we drive, I see Munchies sitting on the dock of a lake — it is sunset

On the bus, I see a large dog that I had lost some time earlier

But I was not me, I was someone else — a trail friend of mine

The dog’s name is Birch — he is seated at the front of the bus

The bus is full of other hikers, eager to get into town

When I enter at a door behind the dog, I call to him

He runs toward me and pushes me down the aisle in a loving embrace

We stop, I exit along with a female hiker and enter the hostel

As we enter, I realize that Birch is dead, and he was not my dog, but the girl’s

I open the door and ask her about Birch — where do we put him? what do we do with him?

She says we just keep moving along, there is nothing to do — he is the second dog she’s lost

We enter the hostel, and no one else from the bus follows — I don’t know where they went

I attempt to pay for me and the girl, but fumble with my payment, dropping it several times

I find myself sitting on a bed with her, but she has changed

She looks like the girl I love, but she is from the trail, and she speaks with a foreign accent

She lays me down and with her eyes she tells me it will never work

“You have a sole-less foot and a bony soul,” she tells me

Or was it a “soul-less foot, and a bony sole?” I won’t ever know

She is beautiful, with short, light hair and a slight German accent

But now she is gone, along with my dreams of the trail