That high up, stars hurt like showering flint.
We drove into Flagstaff shell-shocked and vulnerable.
All night the motel light flickered and buzzed,
as in the movie I'd seen already and scripted -
raw and flawless, shot through with falling stars
The next day was opposite.
Our hands held at arms length were stolen by fog -
trees, highways and hills were swallowed by distance
and then released again, tantalisingly, slow colour by slow colour.
Exposure was over and we held our breath for them.
By the time we touched the tipped lip of the Canyon
there was nothing to see but breathlessness itself,
its urgent, insisting cloud. You said the earth
was veiling her enormous sex with vapourised tears
and bridal dexterity. If so, I preferred it that way.
I loved the white unrolling river
of her refusal as it stunned us on the banks,
stupid as hit fish, with our cameras and stares.
Reprinted by kind permission of Carcanet from Between Here and There .