Weekly Poem: ‘Alone in Hell’s Canyon’
By Michael McGriff
Out here in the desert
I smell smoke from a fire someone made
thinking he had the exclusive company
of the wildflowers
that bloom every hundred years.
Perhaps he too awakened last night
to the noise of a grand floating hall
where an entire people
One person had the job
of tending thousands of chandelier candles.
I listened to him drag his ladder
from one to another, hour after hour.
Michael McGriff’s books include “Home Burial,” “Dismantling the Hills,” “To Build My Shadow a Fire: The Poetry and Translations of David Wevill” and a co-translation of Tomas Transtromer‘s “The Sorrow Gondola.” His poetry, translations, and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including American Poetry Review, Bookforum, Slate and The Believer. He has received a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a Stegner Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Arts Literary Fellowship. He is the founding editor of Tavern Books, a publishing house devoted to poetry in translation and the revival of out-of-print books. He lives in Portland, Ore.