portion of the artwork for E. Martin Pedersen's poetry

Camping with Charlie
E. Martin Pedersen

I like to go camping with Charlie
There are maybe five or six people I can stand to go camping with
But Charlie’s my favorite
He doesn't talk much during the day but he’s just right around the campfire
Never whines, that good cheer I’m envious of
We toss on our packs and we’re off and up
The trail is clear and we don’t need much rest
We like to get away from complications
Telephone holsters, mall music and sports bars
If he knows the name of a new flower he tells me.

In rivers and lakes we go skinny-dipping
When I see Charlie naked I think
He’s just like me, handsome as hell
We meet people on the trail
I usually nod; Charlie sometimes chats in his friendly way
He sets up camp while I cook dinner, we pack up our food so the critters won’t get it
After telling raunchy tales of glory, we wriggle into our mummy bags
Lie on our backs and stare at the dark tent
Then we say g’night and sleep dead tired
It’s OK, we both snore.

I have done enough and am ready to go
My nieces and nephews will be left with pleasant memories
So I would gladly take Charlie’s place lying there
Please let me take Charlie’s place
If I can’t take Charlie’s place
At least let me lie next to him
Let me lie beside Charlie like we do when we go camping
Quiet in the dark, content like two cocoons
As I lie there I may feel jealous again
Because Charlie gets to be born first
And fly off in
fields of green.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 43 | Spring 2014