Seven Cataracts

Maggie Franks, WLI Falls

 

People come here to die.
They sense recklessness in
shattered lights under the sapphire blue
sky. They know a 9,157 foot fall
would beat their bodies to bush
and shrub. And who doesn’t wish

their knuckles would sprout flowers,
their hands unclench regret?
Who hasn’t wanted the wind
to whisk them off the edge? Call
it an accident. Seven

cataracts would smile, the rattlesnakes
would curl before their prey. The
desert would welcome you into its skin.

But others come here just to look,
to feel fresh air glide over their ears,
to melt with a blending of copal and cranberry hues.
They come here to share
themselves with nature and
they leave wondering whose face

was etched in limestone, whose hands
wrapped around that steering wheel, who was lost
in all the ash?

They know people
come here to die. They know fires
leave half a mountain scathed
and one mysterious van
corroded; it looks like a rock.