Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico


I walked with Byron the trails at Bandelier.

Out of a petroglyph

he spiraled, Odysseus

up from the whirlpool—Lord Byron


whose steps I’d followed in in Greece

in the same trail-runners.

Leave only tracks. Where native feet

had worn down narrow trails in the tuff,


which you can keep to

only with always the same one foot

in front of the other, at Bandelier

I tracked up trails


with Byron’s footprints.

Take only pictures. I focused in

on one of the cliffside spirals. Whirlpool, no—

a rising sun


through whose all-seeing noon

amid charred pinyon pines

and ashen junipers, I viewed

The flying Mede, his shaftless broken bow;


The fiery Greek, his red pursuing spear

amid sheer bluffs, gaunt pines and junipers,

and slopes of olive trees like crones,

wrought-iron Fates


with silver knives, and Byron

under a whetstone sun

carving his name

as if among these petroglyphs


in marble. Noontide swirled

from the spiral. I steadied myself

against a pine and scanned

the rock face. A stick man hoisted


a stalk of maize. The Greek

with his red spear spun nightward.

The tree, though charred,

bristled as if on guard with green.