You Wonder Why I Am Not Home

I dropped my pants
in plain view of everyone watching.

There was no one watching.
I was in the wilderness.

I stood adjacent to the tree
that stopped my downward tumbling.

My tumbling started
when I forgot to pay attention.

The wisp of ice on the trail
gave me no warning.

Warning people is not part of ice’s
job description.

I dropped my pants
to be sure no leg bones were broken.

That proves my head hit the tree too
because when a femur breaks

it breaks out of its fleshy container
in a very messy no-standing-up manner.

The sun hurt my brain behind my eyes.
It was on its descent.

I began limping past the nausea.
The trail was mostly downhill

to the trailhead and the car
two point four miles away.

There was enough fresh blood
in the scrapes and cuts

to draw any animal with a good nose.
All predators have good noses.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney


The interior of my limb folded inward.
I wept before I hit the ground.

My ankle, bent in an unnatural direction,
created darkness.

In the darkness my body chilled.
My ghost walked around me appraising the damage.

I woke to white sparks and nausea.
Sorry. Sorry. Sorry, Ankle. Sorry.

The song of the trailhead was faint.
Ravens carried snippets to breadcrumb the way back.

My face bathed in changing shades of pain
studied and improved my one footed off-balance hop.

My teeth tightly clenched the wind between them
and tore off hunks of it to swallow whole.

I dropped pride from my bearing
to lighten the load.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


During my years living in the western mountain ranges of the USA, I have helped three people off mountains and back to their cars at the trailheads. In all three cases the people were joggers or runners who wrecked their ankles on a root or uneven ground. The longest distance to the trailhead was about three miles from where I found the person sitting on a rock resting before another session of hopping.

In each case, the runner was running alone in the wilderness. Not the best idea. Sometimes things outside of your control go wrong and you need help. In one case the person had hopped & waited over two hours before I happened along. We saw no one on the way back to the trailhead.

My ankles got wrecked playing pickup basketball games when I came down with a rebound and landed wrong on someone’s foot. This happened a couple times to each ankle. I did have a fall down a steep slope when I slipped on some leaf-covered ice and tumbled about 70 feet into a tree. It was a case of paying attention to the pretty girl I was with, instead of the trail.

The only time I have suffered an injury that caused me to blackout was on a slow ground ball hit to third in a baseball game. I sprinted to first for a bang-bang call of Out by the umpire. My foot hit the base wrong and I tore my meniscus in my right knee. I do not remember hitting the ground the pain lanced through me so hard and fierce.

Take care of yourselves in sports and other activities. As I grow older, each day those injuries received when young remind me they are there in little ways. And I have physical therapy to do every day to keep everything functioning as close to properly as possible.

Love & Light.