From the Summer of 1972
we were young,
we craved a good viewpoint,
no faded hotel room
or dingy cafe wall for us,
but the Grand Canyon
or cable car overlooking
the Royal Gorge at dusk,
posing like great explorers.
My family never slouched
back in those days. People
had stiffer spines then,
as if encased in armor.
None were ever surprised,
caught in awkward poses
with half-open mouths
and misdirected gaze.
We were prepared then.
Whenever the scenery
changed like stage backdrops,
we knew what to wear
and how to stand in relation
to the others in our party.
There could be no disloyalty
with committed faces like those.
Could we even name our quest,
golden city or fountain of youth
that compelled us down canyon trails
armed with apples and bread?
There is a belief among leaders
that filters down through ranks--
one mountain is like another,
but every prairie is distinct.
If we weren't charismatic enough,
we knew to impress by solemnity,
or cozy up to a pack mule,
to appear heroic by comparison.
If there were a boulder nearby,
we stood with one foot upon it
poised like Ponce De Leon when
he still dared to live forever.
Reynolds teaches at Johnson County Community College in Overland
Park, Kansas, and has published poems in various print and online
journals, including New Delta Review, Alabama Literary
Review, Aethlon-The Journal of Sport Literature, The
MacGuffin, Flint Hills Review, Midwest Poetry Review,
Potpourri, Ariga, Strange Horizons, Combat,
American Western Magazine, The Pedestal Magazine,
Ash Canyon Review, and Orphan Leaf Review.
two poems, "Wanda's Fried Chicken and "78s," are
included in the book Muscadine Lines: A Southern Anthology.