Home Self-Guided Exploration Hiking the Mountains of Moab

Hiking the Mountains of Moab

High Holy Days 2023

Poem written by Ann Bookman, used with permission from Blood Lines (Forthcoming, 2021)

A woman alone in the desert,
a familiar fear, brush away cobwebs of what if.
The trail is steep, muscles in my legs
begin to ache: I am walking, working, climbing.

Without warning, a loud sound: large rocks falling,
a change in the weather, sleeping boulders grinding together?
I cannot name it: cannot quell the urge
to label it, to claim it.

The path curves and slivers, tiny wild flowers
nestle in rock crevices, fuchsia and white,
deep red, blood orange. I pretend the palette of petals
relieves the tightness in my chest.

I continue to climb: in my mind I am turning
back, in my heart I am moving forward to find
the fossilized plants, discover the dinosaur bones,
peer into pits where archaeologists labored.

A large lizard darts across my path, the tightness
in my chest moves down my legs. Ascending
onto a flat rock, the lizard ignores my presence,
pink tongue licks the air.

Colors pull me closer: skin glistened bright turquoise
and pure yellow, neck encircled in black,
head crowned in gold: my heart pounds,
the lizard’s belly moves rhythmically
in-out, in-out.

The lizard’s breathing,
my own breathing,
a quickening of awe:
Baruch atah…