Leave My Body at Wind River Canyon

Missionary Ridge - William Tyler


I sat cross-legged with one eye

closed as the jeep rolled down the

decline. The sepia, river split floor of

the canyon loomed above gauges, slight

cracks in the pavement shook my neurons

like a shamanic baseline. I know now that it

was all going too fast, I know, but I wouldn’t

stop staring, with my one eye, at the thousands

of table candles that lined the alcoves and caves

in the crumbling walls of the canyon. It was all burnt

amber, bug guts in coffee cups, separate flames, each one

with their own fuel, wax, color, shape, and when the speed

merged them together, it was hard to say if two flames had died

Or if two flames were twice as alive. I ruminated propane, how

much I might need for a yearlong campout. Two years. It was too

fast, I know that now, my legs were crossed and I thought about being

away. I swabbed my parched mouth with dirt, and cracked my other eye.

The stereo seeped steel guitar like it knew I cried in the blanket wrapped

wheat mills of Casper last night. When the key changed, I sank into the steady

brakes and flew, starved nerves first into the soaked grass at the river’s bank. I slept

that night, slept until the canyon closed in. Slept until the smashed jeep eroded away. And

when I awoke I was sacred and smiling because I was finally home, and I was finally alive.