Why we stopped in Petra

Where the sky closes above you, descend into the valley and find us, closeted with our god, regarding the theater below from a high station.
We like our real estate: water-rounded cliffs nearly kissing seventy meters above the stone floor, a rainbow in sandstone.
The steps that led to our pyres are gone. We do not need to descend.
The centuries hang about us on shafts of light.
The djinns separate us from those who came after.
The nomads build their fires on the floor of the chasm and their smoke wafts into our caves.
We too have memories.
Long journeys through forests, encounters with lions, the gradual evolution by which the weeds of the foothills became the barley of the plains, the recognition of the intimate mountain god.
Now that time has closed in on us, we will stay even past great earthquakes.
The stars peeking through the roof of the canyon are our next lives.

This poem was published in issue 13 of Panoply, August 2019.

Andy Oram
February 20, 2017

More poems