Big Dominquez

Petroglyph panel, Archaic style (1000 B.C.) | Dominquez-Escalante Conservation Area (03/15/2021)
On the weekend COVID-19 hit my town, 
we descended into a canyon south of its outskirts 
named for the friars Dominquez-Escalante.
Their troop never explored this monolithic crevice, 
crossing the Rio del Tezon some forty miles north-east,
but the mythos of destruction claims much of the barren West. 
I wonder if aisle fourteen of the supermarket back home 
will suffer a similar fate? 
Two crows guard the trailhead, 
harbingers of a destiny inescapable.
Even here life has retreated to some secret refuge
from the coming storm. It is only us,
the whistle of riverbank grass, the eroded boulders 
of a dry inland ocean. The quiet.
We march on looking for the remnants of a people 
delivered by coyote. Sinawav has escaped
through his hole in the heavens. 
On a boulder face, hidden behind juniper and sage,
petroglyphs portray a mural of past abundance.
Melted snow-capped mountains run across its length
giving life to a forest of horned ungulates,
bear prowls the periphery,
the sun follows a reassuring arc.
Did they record this breadth of life 
in anticipation of its demise? 
Did they know the white man would bring his disease
back then, and now? 
How strange to panic about our history.  

March 15, 2020


Published by Caleb Ferganchick

Caleb Ferganchick is a rural, queer, slam poet activist and author of The Secret of Sunflowers (2021) and Poetry Heels (2018). His work has been featured and published by Western Colorado Writer’s Forum (2021), South Broadway Ghost Society (2020, 2021), “Slam Ur Ex ((the podcast))” (2020), and the Colorado Mesa University Literary Review. He organizes the annual Slamming Bricks poetry slam competition in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Riots and serves as a board member for Western Colorado Writer’s Form and Mutual Aid Partners. A SUP river guide and speech and debate coach, Caleb also dreams of establishing a queer commune with a river otter rescue and falconry. He lives in Grand Junction, Colorado.

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