“Walking Among the Legend People” by Marianne Hales Harding

In Bryce Canyon, nature’s flip book of erosion,
Hoodoos crowd the amphitheater
dripping sunset colors,
waxing and waning
(though truly always waning),
Piute Legend People
cycling through the life
of a temporary rock feature
(a scant 10,000 years).

The crowd of 7th graders pause
their quick march long enough to find
orange falcons and candy corn and chess sets crumbling
around tenacious, vanilla-scented pines
(true story—we checked).
Peering at ever-changing faces
through their own ever-changing faces.
Children waxing into adulthood
through the ruthless weathering
that no rock or child can escape.

But waning too.
Our scant 100 years more temporary
than the smallest column.
Our faces painted with our inevitable sunset.
Our Legend People a breathtaking
snapshot of one moment
in the unflinching cycle of life.