Will Cordeiro: "Zion"




A desert where the senses fail,

where everything’s a relic—

we take the East Rim trail

past cottonwood and beavertail,

the scrub oak touched with yellow.


We hike the ancient seabed floor,

the limestone grooved, hipshot, and torqued,

up the ridgeline’s crenellations, 

a cliff-side braced by juniper,

to keep our pace toward Weeping Rock. 


Small lizards lightning underfoot;

the meridian dissolves our blood.

Wind trips the aspen’s shivered light,

each leaf’s wet premise of a star.

October: summer’s over now for good.


The slot remiss, a gallery of sediment,

we gully down a saddleback:

dead code of tracks

fans through the sage and meadowgrass.

A bighorn nimble on a crack   


stares down a sheer crevasse.

Below, we pass

and twinkle in fall’s lucid dust.

A basin holds us fast

while clouds ride shadows like hallucinations.


Around a bend, the canyon drops

degrees of blue in air forever

until the trees look flat and level,

sun strikes the twisting river blind—

and down and down all’s revelation.


Will Cordeiro's work appears or is forthcoming in Copper Nickel, Cortland Review, Crab Orchard Review, CutBank Online, Drunken Boat, Fiction Southeast, Fourteen Hills, Harpur Palate, Hawai’i Review, New Walk, Phoebe, Sentence, and elsewhere.