TRAVELING PETROGLYPHS: EAGLE CREEK
What does it mean that we are seeing them, that
they have left the wall? Left the wall with their
spears, hence, before the bow and arrow, with
their horns and beaks and tails, with their points
and their enhancements —god-shapes grown into
the shale, bird-shapes we have lured to our eyes,
silence the dead wear, with its deep folds. The air
is heavy with clay smell. We clap our hands to scare
away snakes. And though the sun is bright, hot, it is
in memory. Impossible to not see this landscape as
one of ruined temples. Sandstone altars. Hoodoos.
Pedestals and pillars. That we are here enshrined in
earth, an earth of shrines. What is it that we recognize? A body, not plant, something emerging,
crudely formed, and yet with presence. That they
people this valley of bone.
POSSIBLE SHIELD-BEARING FIGURE
To the phrase “We mean you no harm,” I have added,
“We wish you well.” How the day trims the night with
blue trade cloth. How the night offers long-distance
bells. And the winemakers appear to mix the waters.
Lately, the rivers have begun to talk, in their loudspeaker voice, as if projected. As if they were speaking
from a crack that opened deep inside the cliff, as if they
were placed there like a feather in a book. Yesterday, I
had one of the Old Days. As they say, my solitude was
extended. An implied but undepicted ground line. An
abstract foothills tradition. The sound of rivers will lead
me back there, to what I am being carried along to find:
my life, this one, a kind of drowning. Imagine it summer.
The rock shelter is dry. Scrape of chert. Chirr of insects in
the fescue. The earth alive in ways I am not. Dead in
ways beyond my reckoning.