Grand Canyon Conqueror This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 28, 2011
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And I, a mere passerby.
The thirsty earth burned beneath my feet.
I spotted a distant canyon,
as if a shard of the earth broke away,
and fell into the stars.
A rocky podium mounted before me,
maybe a five foot leap.
I glanced down once more,
jagged trenches like ant tracks
carpeted the fiery landscape.
I closed my blue eyes,
“Just do it,” I whispered.

My dusty tennis shoes
shuffled backwards.
I inhaled, my lungs filled
with the scent of cactus flowers
carried by the desert wind.
I began to gain speed,
my soles pounded the ground,
electricity pulsed through my veins.
And for a moment I was floating,
above the Indian memories,
and the coyote willow,
swaying in the breeze,
like a newborn baby's hair.

Then, I landed.
A cloud of titian dust
swirled around my ankles.
An eagle soared above,
screeching and congratulating me
on my valiant victory.
I smiled at him and once again gazed
across the torrid vista,
the same view I'd had so many years ago.

I'd been sixteen and fearless.
A pink scrunchie held my blonde hair
away from my wide eyes.
It all looked the same as it had,
layers of sapphire red, fox orange
and burnt sienna bound the
walls of the ancient canyon together.
But it felt different, better.
Because now I would go home,
and show my sons that their mom
could conquer the world.

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