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Spring/Summer 2008, Volume 24.3


David LeePhoto of David Lee.

David Lee is the author of thirteen books of poetry, including
A Legacy of Shadows: Selected Poems. He was named Utah’s first Poet Laureate and is the recipient of the Utah Governor’s Award for lifetime achievement in the arts. He has also been honored as one of Utah’s top twelve writers of all time by the Utah Endowment for the Humanities.  Read other work by David Lee published in Weber Studies: Vol. 5.1 (Poetry)Vol. 13.1 (Conversation)Vol. 13.1 (Poetry)Vol. 20.1 (Poetry); and  Vol. 23.3 (Poetry).


Winter Solstice

—for Ken Brewer (1941-2006)

Moon     Night     Desert

Scabland. Sere.
The mesa top pressed flat
by the blue weight of sky,
its gnarled sides
sunsucked crimson.
Yesterday’s moon
in an ocean of canyon,
today’s desert sunclotted.

the turbid intimacy
of tattered low hanging clouds,
tangle of cross breeze. Evening,|
shreds of late light
snag in the cholla’s outstretched arms.
Wind, rock, light and time
form a hinge and fold over
into themselves.

The shy sleepiness
of a thin mesquite shadow
in an aging twilight
flat on its back,
The rimrocked moon,
astride the cuesta
trembles, rises in a silver shimmer
as a passing of starlight over water
into the dark chamber of night,
curtain, mirror and lamp.
Shadows stretch their black fingers
into the pink barranca,
pull themselves forward.

This place of sand and rock
with an ocean’s memory.
The desert dreams moon,
feels the tide in her belly,
slow rise of great stones.
The moon dreams sea,
neap and ebb,
dance of wave and ripple
sculptured in slickrock
petrified oyster beds
in the escarpment,
primordial fish
frozen in layers of slate
breath of ocean
in a night breeze
wends homeward
through a rock strewn gully
spindrift redolence
upon the face
in an abandoned stream bed
echo of breaking waves
from sandstone labyrinths.

The sojourning wind
tethered to a sprawling juniper
moonflooded desert
beneath a bright spill of stars
the creosote’s uplifted arms
drenched with light.

From Isotope, Vol. 4.1, 2006
Reprinted with permission of the author

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