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Reasons to Stay in Moab


  1. Pretending my body is a horse, my hiking boots hooves, my backpack a super-saddle for all the people I love. People I wished would hold on.

  2. Yellow aspens, their diamond hands in the breeze waving across the canyon--the thought that my sister, if she ever dies, would wave to me across the canyon between the living and gone this way.

  3. My sister, so alive, calling to me from across the Ahab Trail now, where she and a herd of bikers are rounding the jagged corner. Warning me, “Mar! I’m about to go…” I can't make out her words, but in gestures I'm fluent. “I'm okay!"

  4. The feeling that we're okay.

  5. The point on the trail when going out becomes coming back.

  6. How at that point, I bent down and scoop a handful of red dust into my hands and said--this resembles your shame, Martha–and slowly let the space between fingers widen, watched the red dirt become amber cloud. Watercolor wind.

  7. The barista at the Maob Garage Cafe. With the nose ring and the eyes. Eyes I didn’t believe would be watching me, but were. “Martha, was it?”

  8. Your copper, sun-brandished face, open and wide. How I wanted to say “you are so beautiful, it is startling. You are the place I have come to see. Stay." But how instead I said, “you look great. How do you feel?” and sipped my Corona.

  9. Canyonland Kiss, whose postcard version I bought and still have over the mantle. You know the one, with the red and blue rivers that merge and become lovers, their ambiguous limbs embracing in unquestionable passion, necks curving along Dead Horse Canyon--where you told me to go but there wasn't enough time.

  10. The crows up high in Delicate Arches, each one a shiny black drop of ink on skin stone.

  11. All the tattoos on all the bodies. All the stories they must tell, or hide. Wondering if I should finally do it: "I am rooted but I flow" VW on my upper back. If then, you could read me.

  12. The calm on my face in all the pictures. The knowledge that, if I had seen myself at the colorful booth too, I would also have struggled not to say, "You are so beautiful. It is startling. You are the place I have come to see. Stay."


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