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Maggie Dietz

Maggie Dietz received a BA from Northwestern University and an MA from Boston University. She is the author of That Kind of Happy (University of Chicago Press, 2016) and Perennial Fall (University of Chicago Press, 2006), winner of the 2007 Jane Kenyon Award from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. Dietz has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center at Provincetown, the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, and Phillips Exeter Academy, among others. She previously served as director of Robert Pinsky’s Favorite Poem Project, coediting three anthologies related to the project. She currently teaches at the University of Massachusetts–Lowell and lives in New Hampshire.

By This Poet

1

Leave No Trace

No gate, no main entrance, no ticket, no ranger. Not far
From where Frost once raised chickens and ill-fated children, near
Where the Old Man’s glacier-hewn face though bolstered to
Its godlike roost by rods and turnbuckles slid
From our fledgling millennium into oblivion,
You can cross the Pemigewasset on a bridge
Then, compass-north but southbound on the trail,
Ascend an old grassed-over logging road
To the carved out collarbone of Cannon Mountain.

This is Lonesome Lake. How you go from here
Depends on why you’ve come: to out a spruce grouse
Or listen for the whee-ah of a Bicknell’s thrush;
For a breezy picnic or a midlife crisis,
A long haul or a day trip to the cascades.
 
Bring for your purposes only what you need:  
Salmon jerky, a canteen or Camelbak,
Band-aids, a ratchet and strap, a roughed-up heart.
Bring sunblock, a notebook, the Beatles, Beyoncé,
The Bhagavad Gita, a Bible, some Hitchens or Hegel.
       
However long you stay you must leave nothing.
No matchbox, no pole-tip, no grommet, no cup.
Carry in and out your Clif Bar wrappers,
Your fear of bears and storms. Keep the rage
You thought you’d push through your boot-soles into the stones,
The grief you hoped to shed. If you think you’ve changed,
Take all your changes with you.
                                                              If you lift
An arrowhead from the leaves, return it. Pocket
No pinecone, no pebble or faery root. Resist
The painted trillium even if its purple throat
Begs to be pressed between your trail guide’s pages.