Holy Ghost Petroglyph, Utah

I wish I could see you rising up
over the La Sal Mountains,
snow-free in late May,
as russet-red as you are painted
on the yellow cliff at Horseshoe Canyon.
Part hematite, part blood and sweat,
you are a spirit balloon
growing upward from Utah’s rock,
no arms or legs to slow your rise,
shoulders broad enough to beat the weight,
eyes hollow, blind with seeing.
Barrier Canyon Holy Ghost,
spiral over Tukuhnikivits into
the evening’s moony sky:
make people look away from
TV screens and computer monitors,
to empty all minds of all words,
all mouths of all words,
so that the inrush of silence
helps pull you slowly upward,
your shoulders stretching a score of miles,
so holy that no one dares reach for a camera,
so that I instead reach
for my own wet and dancing heart.


[Rebecca Bailey is currently a ranger with the National Park Service. She taught writing for more than a decade at Morehead State University in Kentucky. She has published six books, most recently the poetry collection Meditation Upon the Invisible Ceremony of the Breath (Finishing Line Press). She has recently been published in SageWoman, Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, Arts Perspective, Canyon Legacy, and Moab Sun News, and lives in Utah and Idaho.]

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