Worried Love–A Poem

One of the reasons I love teaching at a university is that each year we break for spring. Certainly, by this time the 10 hour days, 6 days a week are catching up to me and my colleagues. Haggard and worn, my favorite memories of spring break involve camping. There’s really nothing like turning off the phone, leaving the tv, and hitting the trails. Better yet: that tired and worn feeling at the end of the day sitting by a fire with a rum and coke. Even though we’re going to miss out this year, I include a poem I wrote a while back after one such trip. I realize it’s pretty presumptuous to post one’s own poetry and I make no claims to it’s quality, but after 93 posts on contemporary topics and a couple of weeks blogging about education and the budget, I don’t really feel like thinking on the Friday before spring break.

Worried Love

My wife hates it when
I hike alone.

Her worry
is both endearing and
annoying. I tell her the
javelinas won’t find me
tasty–I’m too thin and
bony–but she’s not
amused.

I quote
Abbey: “get out of the
goddamned contraption . . .”

Before I finish she rolls
her eyes and waves
away my words, telling
me I’m welcome to hike
if I can find Abbey and
take him with me, pointing
to the pamphlets, underlining with
her finger the warning not to
“hike alone.”

She worries about snakes,
quotes statistics about
heat stroke, broken bones.
Bears.Wild pigs.
I smile at her
frustration, the
repetition of this
game we play.

What can I see from a
car? Hoary rosemary
mint looks like thistle at
seventy miles an hour;
mountain oxeye blurs like
black eyed susans.

Early mornings are best.
I leave camp at dawn to
see the sun hit
wildflowers.

They open slowly like
my family emerging
from their sleeping
bags. The freshly
opened dayflower,
midnight blue, a splash of
yellow to feed the insect
world. Beardlip
penstemon, hidden in a
crevice, a plant to
sneak up on, quietly,
like chasing a deer
down the trail.

She hears me pack and
knows I’m going,
tells me if
I break a leg,
twist an ankle,
get eaten by a bear,
don’t come
crying to her.

I tell her I
love her too and
pack my stuff for the
morning hike.

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About John Wegner
John Wegner is a Professor of English where he also serves as the Dean of the Freshman College. He and Lana, his wife, have been married over 25 years. They are the parents of two great sons who (so far) haven't ever needed bail money.

One Response to Worried Love–A Poem

  1. jmgoyder says:

    Haha – love the poem!

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