A Land Before Time

A bobcat creeps between piñon pines
pursuing mule deer down a rocky spine,
oblivious to its sheer decline, to the canyon’s
daunting depth and size, its ageless grandeur.

A squaw squints hard against the blinding sun,
treads ancient crinoids to reach each bristlecone,
to harvest a fern bush, a sagebrush, the cliffrose,
adjusting a bark backboard to ease her childload.

The Piute descends through a narrow crevasse
to her riverside garden of corn and squash,
to her dug-out oven firing bricks and pots,
to her pueblo hidden under a dome of rock.

Through scattered light in the great abyss
a raven soars on an upswept gust, hunts
cat-eared squirrels and chipmunk-rats
scurrying past fossilized dinosaur tracks.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

At Rome's Basilica of St. Bartholomew, a shrine to modern martyrs, Pope Francis presided over an evening prayer service April 22, honoring Christians killed under Nazism, communism, dictatorships and terrorism.
The conference brought together six lay people from different countries “to reflect on the post-synod apostolic exhortation that has aroused grave perplexities and widespread unease in numerous components of the Catholic world.”
Gerard O'ConnellApril 22, 2017
These photos, patches of uniforms and drawings create a piecemeal account of life at Dachau during and after the war.
Teresa DonnellanApril 21, 2017
Demonstrators march during a Feb. 25 rally organized by Catholics Against the Death Penalty in Southern California (CNS photo/Andrew Cullen, Reuters).
Christianity is not a relic laid in a museum; it is not a book entombed in an archive. It lives in the living people of God.
John T. Noonan, Jr.April 21, 2017