IT ALL GOES ON YOUR BACK

It all goes on your back
enough for one, two if you’re lucky
enough for food, water, and shelter
the luxury of a camera or notebook,
an instrument of documentation
but little else.

It all goes on your back, 
out to an unmarred space,
into the last fortress 
one cannot simply pay to visit
a space unmanipulated throughout the Holocene 
save the course of a brook or slide of ancient rock.

It all goes on your back,
your most essential possessions, 
a jacket,  a mug, your grandfathers match case
a commitment to what’s important.

It all goes on your back
enough to bridge the gap
between the animals we were
and the beasts we are today.

It all goes on your back
and you damn well have the back to haul it
over alpine meadows, up talus, through rivers
across glacier, atop passes, down canyons.

It all goes on your back, 
and the rest is where you find it,
where life belongs, untamed and fine.