The DMQ Review

Gary Palmer © 2003

Trona Pinnacles

Just here, in this long train of towers,
a ring of brown bent monoliths

surrounds a campfire in the desert.
They hulk like druids in the wind,

their slow rising from underwater
calcium springs no stranger

than the torturous journey
of stones on logs

across the plain of Salisbury.
What is there here to honor

and to know? The tufa rock is sharp
to the hand, a shock to the eye.

Across the salt and sand
of this long empty lake, these towers

frame that void for which they stand,
and which they stand against.

Paul Willis
Copyright © 2003

Paul J. Willis is a professor of English at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. His work has appeared in Poetry, Solo, Best American Poetry 1996, and Best Spiritual Writing 1999. Chapbooks include Poison Oak (Mille Grazie Press, 1999) and The Deep and Secret Color of Ice (Small Poetry Press, 2003), the latter chosen by Jane Hirshfield as winner of their annual competition.

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