“Bisti Badlands, Northwestern New Mexico” by Dorothy Brooks (from the Read a Poet, Write a Poem workshop)

I told no one I was going, I remembered too late
as sunset cast brooding shadows
on the ancient sea of rock with hoodoos
rising like carved cobras in the advancing shadows.

Impossible to find, remote—
spinner of mysteries, keeper of quiet,
the vast expanse spoke its own tongue.
No landmarks, I noted, easy

(Photo by author, 1985)

to be lost. Gripping my camera, hoping
for one last shot, I reached
to steady myself at the next rise—
its layers of shale imbedded

in contours of waves.  My hand
landed on something solid—not
the scatterings of old coal sprinkled
across the ledge but something

larger than my fist.  Glancing down,
I wedged my thumb under
a protruding rock—no, a
knuckle bone.  Fossil now,

the frozen motion of some prehistoric being
turned to stone as it loped through
lush tropics, skirted a swamp abloom
with tall palms sprouting whole coconuts of voodoo.

January 27, 2014

Published by cpoetrymsu

The Center for Poetry opened in the fall of 2007 to encourage the reading, writing, and discussion of poetry and to create an awareness of the place and power of poetry in our everyday lives. We think about this in a number of ways, including through readings, shows, community outreach, and workshops. We are at work building a poetry community at MSU and in the greater Lansing area. Contact: cpoetry@msu.edu (517) 884-1932 http://www.poetry.rcah.msu.edu

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