Home > Poetry > Take Utah
Published: Wed Oct 15 1975
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
AGNI 4 Journeys Loss Nature
Take Utah

Take Utah for instance.
There is a land that is content
with the lot of continual dying,
content with an occasional cactus
blossom which is like a gasp.

Utah usually lies open
mouthed, barely breathing under
splintered columns, heroic bones.
Their shadows are like willow
leaves on the land.

The treasure that lies
hidden among the arches,
buried beneath the dry wash
is not Uranium or even water.
It is water’s cool breath.
It is a ghost that floods
the chapped arroyo;
that nurtures match-like
spires sun bound;
that soothes Utah’s body,
bathes it in sandstone.

See what's inside AGNI 4
Letters to Omma—Reunion
Online 2023 Nature Loss Journeys
Dead Reef
by Enrique S. Villasis
Translated from the Filipino by Bernard Capinpin
AGNI 94 Loss Nature Journeys
AGNI 3 Journeys Loss Nature
Self-Portrait as Desert
Online 2024 Journeys Loss Translating

James Galvin’s most recent books are Resurrection Update: Collected Poems 1975–1997 (Copper Canyon, 1997), a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the Lenore Marshal Poetry Prize, and a novel, Fencing the Sky (Holt, 1999). His honors include a “Discovery”/The Nation award, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Foundation award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the NEA. He lives in Laramie, Wyoming, where he has worked as a rancher part of the year all his life, and in Iowa City, where he is a member of the permanent faculty of the University of Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop. (updated 2001)

Back to top