Original Poem – Gone Colorado (Parts III and IV)


Where have we been?

Was it you in your plum-colored hoodie that I followed this
Storming Monday morning to disappointing waterfalls,
Laughing anyway, making faces at the soggy children,
grumbling as they trudged the muddy trail?

Was it I who cracked the foggy window,
Peering out through cold and snow and rain,
Looking for wild sheep at the National Park,
Yelling at the barren, bouldered cliffside:
‘Where are your bighorns, Colorado?’

Did we stumble astonished into
The unexpected beach-like sands
Of the trickling alluvial fan?
And who was it that fell in love
With those words — ‘alluvial fan’ —
And repeated them slowly aloud
For hours for the simple giddy joy of it?


And timeless still,
We fling our spotlight of awareness
Across the night not knowing
What blind forgotten gods
Look out from the flashing rock faces.

Gone Colorado,
Gone Kansas, and
Gone grey Topeka and sad decades
Of heavy secret solitude.

You, leaning in now,
Ghostly in the cyan glow
Of the dashboard display,
Lowering your window;
A rush of wind spills wildly in
As twists of auburn hair
Leap and tangle.

I forgive you your cigarette
As you yourself give birth to clouds
In slow, indulgent exhalations
From full and chapped half-smiling lips.
(If you could have known your beauty then.)

Suspended over one last abyss
Blissful and oblivious to our descent,
We’re expelled through canyons
Like Golden Gates
As electric glimmering Denver
Fades into view.

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