Lodestar Quarterly

Lodestar Quarterly
Figure reaching for a star Issue 9 • Spring 2004 • Featured Writer • Poetry

Return to Grand Canyon

Maya Khosla

We occupy one moment, that's all. And as I say "this moment," it's gone.
-- G.K.

You craved the canyon music.
So I return. It takes years
to slice your words open --
juices dripping -- to swallow all
but the slippery seeds,
which will take a journey
and a lingering season
to sow. I know
to leave my watch behind,

to cache the seeds, my pockets bulging,
and track their habitat
past cities of glass,
shingles, and spare change,
past rivers of fake white light,
towards the canyon, and
down miles of desert trails
honeyed by the breathy heat
of ceanothus, cactus buds
their water held private as moons.

Salt cakes my cheeks and neck,
working a good thirst, seeking
the right loam.
With each step, the tongue
of my backpack buckle
rings like a temple bell
inside a steel cup on my back.

This moment. I track it
through a thick
and brittle-barked country,
pink dust-miles covering my shoes.
At dusk the heat sinks beneath
redstone, touching crepuscular nerves
into emergence. Bats trill,
lace the windburn
with a pilgrimage of their own:
doubles of sound chirping back
from fiery canyon walls.

When the words grow half a mile
deep in rock
it's tricky finding their dispersal spot.
In fact I almost pass it.
Tilt back for a sip, the first in miles,
and there they are overhead, frescoes,
songs without throat, blood-paint
on smoky boulders:
water, dragonfly, shadowy deer in flight.
I empty my pockets
into the great hush beneath.

Maya Khosla

Maya Khosla was raised in India, England, Algeria, Burma, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. Those cultures as well as her background in biology strongly shaped her writing. Keel Bone, winner of the 2003 Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize, is her first full-length poetry manuscript. She is also the author of Web of Water, a creative non-fiction manuscript, and Heart of the Tearing, a chapbook collection of poetry. Individual poems have been featured in journals like America's Review, Permafrost, Poetry Flash, and Seneca Review. She has performed at venues such as Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival and at Headlands Center for the Arts, where she was writer-in-residence in 1998.

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