Loop Trail: Little Ruins Canyon, Hovenweep, September 2016

By Lisa Bickmore

Photography: VisitUtah.com

At the end, the scrub at the rim receded as we descended: to yellow arnica, long-stemmed, to the canyon floor, to branch cottonwoods signaling water somewhere. The houses up high, built of pecked stone, mortared and spall-chinked, even quieter than we’d hoped, just as still, as apart. We recited their modern names to ourselves, our knees and feet begrudging us the miles we’d walked, following the rock line, the intermittent cairns.

And when we turned our gaze all the way up to the rim, to those dwellings, emptied of any resident but snakes and chattering ravens, we wished to remain there forever at the dry creek, behind and ahead of us, ready for rain: at dusk, we climbed up, out, into the other — our — world.

Lisa Bickmore’s work has appeared or will soon appear in Psaltery and Lyre, Quarterly West, Tar River Poetry, Split Rock Review, Sugarhouse Review and Hunger Mountain Review, as well as Torrey House Press’ “Blossom as the Cliffrose: Mormon Legacies and the Beckoning Wild.” Her second book, “flicker,” published in 2016, won the 2014 Antivenom Prize from Elixir Press, and she won the 2015 Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize for the poem “Eidolon.” Her third collection, “Ephemerist,” was published by Red Mountain Press in 2017. She is the founder and publisher of Salt Lake City’s nonprofit Lightscatterpress.org.