A Poem by C. Derick Varn
In Moab, the fall seemed without end:
seasons gape open, light shines on the red
rock into the creation spiral petroglyph, faint
against the stone and sky. Afternoon, wilted
tea leaves whose bruise dyes the water–blood
and mud: I remember the Fellahin on the edge of Aswan
with bunched sugarcane and Ak-47. Imagine
him offing the branches of date palms from the
safety of the bus. The Nile cuts horizon line.
Now, in this different desert, we have nothing
but our muscles to guide us down. You scurry
down the rock face and I watch hornets near
the purple cactus, the memory abrades down
to the dust mode and sharpened desert edge.
From desert to desert. When I walk down
the mountain, I imagine the meal made
of my marrow, all the love safe in the
origin of bloods, supped to sate the dryness.
Memories–exploding dates mixing with
shell casings. All there is to offer itself
Is here. When we reach the bottom:
silence and bright heat.