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(In the red-rock country)

What eye can follow where these strata go?

Massed piñon branches stop sight as it flies.

The air is thin, and hikers must tread slow.

Unhesitant striations leap and flow

past canyoned pathways to each buttressed rise.

Few boots can follow where the rouge-red strata go.

Caprock grows porous that once wriggled, died

and rained like manna through pre-Cambrian tides.

The air is thin and travelers must step slow

yet pitch-pine campfires and a flyleaf tent

still show: our love is uplift and repose.

Some shapes abide, though few may follow

where the strata go. The air is thin.

Perception here moves slow.

First published in Iron Horse Literary Review Photo-Finish Anthology, Oct. 2017

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