for Mark Irwin


Millions of years had sketched the grit

of umber and ochre in the sandstone walls

we hiked between. We had just met.

“It feels good being you,” you said,


your hands burrowed into the pockets

of my borrowed coat. Every leaf-

stripping gust in that high bright

swept through us, and the trickle of a creek


kept nicking at the trail. The gray roots

in the photo I took look like emergent

mastodons. “Jade,” you said and stopped

to pick up a stone and offer it to me.


“You could make something.” Its green round

in my palm, I felt for what it could become.