8th Grade Field Trip
by Tamara Madison
The sun never came out that day on Mount San Jacinto.
We drove up in buses to hike around in fog, our teachers
taking a break from teaching so we could run free.
Greg was a magnet for us. We didn’t know why,
but where he was, we needed to be. Tall, seeming older
than the rest — Adam’s apple, shadowed upper lip —
he must have known some things that we needed to learn.
We followed him down trails, behind boulders, everywhere
losing him to the scarves of fog that curled around tree trunks
and filled hollows. What was this ache I felt, this pleasant
lump in my throat, this poignant longing? It wasn’t the boy
exactly, or the fog, but somehow the fog and the boy together,
the fog and the boy and the mountain, the fog, the boy,
the mountain and the trees all dark and wet and shadowy
like the future drawing me in to its mysteries, the past
behind me a sunny path I would never walk again.
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