NAMES IN THE NIGHT
a poem by Board Member Margaret Pettis
Wind hisses through the willows.
I expect the dark head of a moose,
knee deep in this yellow meadow,
to push through willow wands
that in retreat I would find
as set as ancient tracery.
But it is only a young doe,
aware of me already, in sparkled
retreat across the sliding stream,
dancing along the edge
of her forest of shadows.
Carrying a precious bucketful
of river back to our tent,
I hear the Merlin of the Uintas--
distant, wavering, unmistakable--
transformed into Loon
under Moon s spell.
Alpenglow ignites Red Knob,
each crevasse a sooty gash
on the violet escarpments of dusk.
A beaver tows her red reflection;
the West Fork swirls
north to the Green.
Reading what evening permits,
I trace with pitch-freckled fingers
my map s dim folds, tracking
those who came before--
Hayden, Gilbert, King, Smith,
Agassiz-- and intrepid settlers
famous to no one but their kin.
But it is the names given in awe
to sky-bound ridges that revive us:
Dead Horse, Spread Eagle,
From tin cups we sip jasmine,
warm our lips and fingers.
Our weary bodies sink into night,
each new star another comrade,
this temple of firs
totems of our tribe.