When We Were Closest

A hike in the mountains leads to reflection.

By Ilana Hipshman - Peace Corps Volunteer, Nicaragua (2013 – 2016)

We’ve been walking these mountains together for hours

Baby in arms
Night laying itself upon us;
It smells like it has smelled for centuries
The weight of the baby is the same as it’s been
for centuries
We follow a single point of light
through steep and muddy jungle
We wind our way down
laughing with voices made of stars,
Breathing in time to the song of Cicadas
and shifting Guanacaste trees;
Warmth collects and drips down our soft cheeks
into the valleys of our backs and our breasts,
And though one of us is so small
And the other is so big
We are, together, all the strength
of all the women
that have ever lived
or ever will. 


This poem was selected as a finalist in the Volunteer category for the 2015 Peace Corps Poetry Contest. It was selected from more than 1,000 submissions, representing over 50 years of Peace Corps service in more than 100 countries.

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