The lake’s shoreline is covered with them— snowy egrets, coots and grebes used to the noise from the large, loud birds out of LAX that manage to fly so high.
A leaf blower scatters dry sycamore leaves along the footpath, roaring over the only sign of winter in Los Angeles, and someone’s model airplane whines in the air.
Beer cans, bottles, plastic bags jam a creek below the asphalt trail— scraps of white paper crumple like tiny cranes in the mud. A blue heron, wings folded in prayer, finds a rivulet, rests her leg.
Winter Solstice in the Gorge, 2016
Our myths turn long nights into evergreen cut on grocery store parking lots, a continent away from thousands of reindeer starving as the Arctic ice dissolves. Only one star guides the way out to where striped lines follow diesels lit like Christmas—miles of commerce threading the Mojave.
The longest night spills from a cup of tears I drink through this highway that weaves between monoliths of an American Stonehenge propped along the Virgin River’s winding course. I see her face in the rock at the hour’s cusp—
Freya carrying the sun in her antlers. She treks the sky, a spinning wheel around our breath, and seeds the earth on the darkest night with bits of amber.
The sun stands still at dawn on a plateau of Kaibab sediment, reaches down into gypsum layers, then sandstone pockets to greet bighorn sheep near river banks who step out of shadow for the new year.
Danielle Beazer Dubrasky is the director of the Grace A. Tanner Center for Human Values as well as an associate professor of Creative Writing at Southern Utah University. Her poetry has been published in Pilgrimage, Salt Front, Contrary Magazine, Quill & Parchment, Cave Wall,and Sugar House Review. Her poems were also published in a limited edition art book Invisible Shores by Red Butte Press of the University of Utah. Her chapbook Ruin and Light won the 2014 Anabiosis Press Chapbook Competition. She has been a fellow at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts and is a two-time recipient of the Utah Arts Council first place award in poetry. Danielle is the poetry editor for Contemporary Rural Social Work and has worked with a research team at Southern Utah University to develop a curriculum for poetry therapy in groups. She grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia, but has lived the last 20 years in Southern Utah.
Header photo of great blue heron by Simmons B. Buntin.