We march out—so early I can’t even see—
till Meg has a headache and John has to pee,
and Ruby is swearing she’ll die of despair
if another small nature bug lands in her hair.
“Now, camping’s a great way to spend time together,”
says Dad as we groan about grime and the weather.
“Just humor your father,” our mom chimes along,
but none of us join in her hiking trip song.
Come noon, I discover the map’s upside-down,
and Ruby and Meg both wear permanent frowns.
The lunches have melted, a PBJ puddle,
and even Dad’s beat when we do our group huddle.
On campground, we’re weary and beading with sweat
at the peak of what Dad says we’ll “never forget.”
He can’t pitch the tent, so we lie on the dirt
and the earth is so bumpy, our spinal cords hurt.
But the six of us match with our sore limbs and yawns
as Mom sings and I squeeze between Ruby and John.
We marvel together as stars come to peep,
and I’m grateful to Dad as I drift off to sleep.
Vivian Tsai currently studies computer science and applied math at Johns Hopkins University. She spends her free time doodling, writing letters, and playing tennis with friends.