Poems for Red Canyons
IF I'D GROWN UP HERE
I'd have been a horse ridin', boot wearin'
leather skinned familiar of the wind.
I'd be wind-scooped and wind scoured.
I'd listen to the flash of water seeking
the sea, would know the medicinals,
conversations of grasses and animals. I'd
watch birds wing over morning and see
where they'd set down. I'd know how to find
water in parchland, know the trails to
solitude and what to listen for. I'd know
what that cloud of distant dust meant
and why that house is empty and broken.
I'd know the stories that build from a place,
know where to step or not step, how to stop
a free fall, where not to put my hand.
I would have learned what can be eaten,
where the snake, frightened of my presence,
might bite, what to do if it did. I'd learn
what is worse than hunger, what happens
when snow cuts off the roads, why humming
birds come to this place, what time is by the shadow
on the rock, how to make a splint, how to
build a shelter as night and the heat of summer
plummet into dark. How to make friends,
protect a cat. How to live in so much space.
How to call this home.
Poem by CB Follett from "Poems for Red Canyon."