Nankoweap – Rick Kempa

You do not need
to find the sun.
It will find you
soon enough

where you sit
feet flat, back
straight, on a rock
beside your tent.

The sky swirls
in an eddy,
muted silver,
pearl blue.

A fish leaps,
falls back
with a splat.
Was it worth it?

The sun touches
the ridge top,
begins its journey
down the slope.

A breeze strafes
the wavelets,
shakes the willows,
rakes the sand.

The river smells green!
Raven, hovering
above me—
why so quiet?

 A beaver paddles
close to shore,
mouth stuffed
with a grass-tuft.

 A small brown bird
above the water
beats its wings
to stay aloft.

A lark erupts.
A locust shrills.
The rapids’ roar

and the sun arrives!
Your skin thrills,
your eyes blink,
open wider,

and you think,
This day belongs
to me. Never have I
been so wealthy.


* “Nankoweap,” place that echoes, Paiute

Rick Kempa

Rick Kempa lives in Rock Springs, Wyoming, where he teaches at Western Wyoming College. Rick is editor of the anthology ON FOOT: Grand Canyon Backpacking Stories, (Vishnu Temple Press, 2014) and co-editor, with Peter Anderson, of Going Down Grand: Poems from the Canyon (Lithic Press, 2015). His latest poetry collection is Ten Thousand Voices (Littoral Press, 2014). Other work of his can be found online atBlue Lyra Review,, Hippocampus, and Watershed Review.