Palo Duro Canyon


Christopher Buckley

Weather seemed to go over it,
wind and snow blew by the slit
in the plains as if it wasn't there.
We descended into that lone, dry place
down the cattle trails at evening;
the hills were sheer and
had a fiery, primeval film.

Even clouds hovered flame bright,
and far to the bottom
red rings of light,
perilous as the very place
Alighieri stood, or the dream
when your bed rises into the air
and you are about to fall . . .

We climbed out on all fours
and against the far sunset ridge
a long line of cattle headed down
like black lace on the canyon edge -
I kept my eye on a small wedge of blue
winging high and away.

From Blossoms and Bones by Christopher Buckley, Vanderbilt University Press.
© 1988 Christopher Buckley

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