Tenting, Burr Trail, Long Canyon, Escalante
Even when I close my eyes, even later in
the tent, dreaming, I see banks and rivers running red.
My blood has drunk color from the stones as if
it were the meal I needed. I am ready to eat
any beauty--these vistas of stars, storms.
The mesas and vermillion cliffs. The light they magnify
into the canyon. The echoes, the distances.
The rocks carved with ancient knowledge.
But after vast valleys I am so ready for this
low notch in the gorge, the intimate cottonwoods
lifting their leafy skirts and blowing their small
soft kisses into my tent on the wastland's
stringy breath. The spaces between the gusts are rich
with silence. I am ready to stay in this one place, sleep,
dream, breathe the grace of wind and earth that is
never too much, and more than I will ever need.
In this parchment land, the scribble
and blot of junipers and sagebrush--each crouched
separate, rooted in its own desert space--
spreads low to the sand, holding it down
the way the tent pegs anchor my tent, keep it
from blowing away. The way I want my words
to hold, growing maybe an inch a year,
grateful for the least glisten of dew.