Web of Downstream Draught
by Karla Linn Merrifield

Obeisance to soul-scouring river gods; to the gods
of sandstone; to piñon, juniper and sage gods–
what will it be this time? Must I say something
dutiful to wind and cloud, to wind-mountain
and cloud-mountain, mountain on high of snow?

How do I pray to both magpie and Audubon warbler?
Or do I simply let changing western landscapes take me
to the desert from glacial altitudes to alluvial silt
to the lowest water in measured years all across
the massive Colorado Plateau–and then let go?

On a great migration of gravity I become
a lowly creature of bottomlands, a spider, say,
among red-brown grains purled off Navajo sandstone
formations, washed up just shy of “Lake” Meade, willing
to spin rain. May there be cottonwood trees here yet again.


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