Shivering in Pleasant Valley

Water bottle frozen solid,
Pleasant Valley not so pleasing,
shivering the night through,
sleeping bag not meant for this cold.
I dream of home with its
            warm bed
            hot bath
            central heat,
but I resist leaving the desert.
I want a fit body and spirit undaunted,
and I’ve lived
in safety and comfort
long enough to know
which fork in life’s road
gains little, and which
like Whitman’s “Cavalry Crossing a Ford,”
proffers a possibility of
steel flashing in the sun,
silvery river,
guidons fluttering gayly in the wind.


(first published in “Do We Dare”)

© Paul Hellweg. All rights reserved.