Here, where water seeps
in moss-green cracks, or hides

in leathery leaves of four-winged
saltbush, blackbush, bitterbush, or

pools in deep sleeping cells
inside a buried red-spotted toad. Here,

where I slept, my back on slabs
of sandstone, sky thrashed with stars,

wheeling above the long curved stone
horizon of comb ridge, under

which, the river dreams the rain
as it licks walls of rock and sinks

into roots of sandbar willow
and cottonwoods rustle and beg

to tip this heavy air which fills with
what peaks gather and pull down

and this desert opens all its mouths,
each cell releasing scent

drenched in what we want
to call rain before it falls or

what I want to call love when
I hear my breath as it moves

between canyon walls or my foot-
falls echo back until I know

myself as empty as this place is full
of nothing built by humans except those

cliff-perched rooms of stone and chips
of chert, one of which is translucent,

veined in red streaks as I hold it up
to light, remember a word

like bone, and as each thing spills
into the pungent

anticipatory air: earth and stone,
root, and leaf, until

the sky releases –
and pools of water are held

in kettle holes, silvered in late
sun, I walk with something whole

inside me that this land has
given, something I used to call