May/June 2022 • Vol. XLIV No. 3 June 1, 2022 |

Proper Use of Knots in the Wild

One end goes around the lodgepole pine, one through the loop, two half hitches secure the ridgepole, three bind the devil. A bowline can get you down a cliff face, but a sheepshank won’t last the day. Stop a fraying cord with a snake whip or burn the edges as a last resort. What if you need to cross a creek? What if the wind feels different since you’ve been alone, like the weight of leaves shouting against your back? You need to tie things down, keep the world’s hungry jaws away from what little you’ve got left. You probably left a faucet running, a burner on the kitchen stove. Something you forgot to say when you were younger. Trust a clove hitch for your guyline, a timber for your pack. Faith goes on without you. Regret follows you home. Tie your tent poles tight. Snug your food in a tree. Get across that creek tonight.

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Grant Clauser is the author of five books, including Muddy Dragon on the Road to Heaven (winner of the Codhill Press Poetry Award) and Reckless Constellations (winner of the Cider Press Review Book Award). Poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, The Journal, Southern Poetry Review, Rattle, Tar River Poetry, and others. He works as an editor and teaches at Rosemont College.

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