canyon meme 

we’re the kids so swole so cocksure cowboy
cool in leather boots stampede serrating mountain ridge
our lump-karst slick-boy Johnston gorge-
ing on feathering algae,
curious syntax, jagged gaps in the treeline behind—
 telling these women
to leave this canyon
we seem to think it belongs to us

to those who love like us
you think you remember our whitewater gulch, our quartzite multi-
facing the long-mouthed aquamarine our slick-in-gypsum
swagger cliff-mounting a limestone overhang your junior
high church group canyon-clinging the catwalk edge

the way memory thins with time, this iron pyrite gleam
these underground things, quick this sand, this soluble stone:
you with your longing eyes, unnatural, unsure
why it took so long to understand

and there you were
thinking you’d formed a sinkhole, a means of escape
these geologies—


Erin Russell is an Amsterdam-based Canadian poet. Winner of the 2019 Goedicke Prize for Poetry and the University of Toronto’s Wycliffe Poetry Award, she is currently subeditor at Black Bough. Her work has appeared in CutBank, Burning House, and Train. She lectures at Amsterdam University College.