Utah Series

by Andrew Baron


You can’t park

there anymore,

so if you left it in the glove

box they’d just tow it with

the car.

Just write it in the frost

somewhere between here

and Salt Lake City I’ll

read it when I get



The Drive

There’s nothing in religion

that isn’t in the hills outside Ogden.

Days ago the snow in runs and patches

was a blanket on a world you hadn’t named.

Come a sinner. Drive the back way

through feedlots of cattle and children,

with her beside you pregnant and beloved.

Come with no reservation through the cold fires of the holy.

Come in reverence and write them

in the moisture on the windows

of the most abandoned buildings:

these places’ names.

Winter gospel.

Come a saint.


The Salt Flats

No one really knows, making all who claim to liars.

But consensus is a word, and so must be acknowledged.

It holds that Brigham Young was by comparison more decent

to the most wretched than their state-ordained protectors.

‘It costs us less to feed them than to fight them.’

I lived here in a brick house and was sheltered from God’s wrath.

I rode a Yamaha 450 across the salt flats outward

from the city until the salt gave way to brine, then sank.

I was wretched in a land where the Shoshone sank their arms

into the hills and ate and made lives across that salt.

No one really knows, but word is that the Mormons would ride out

with gifts and food, and give them. Word is also that they murdered.

One New Year’s we drove out through fog, past the flats to Grantsville,

she and I, to watch the fireworks light their dirt yards.

Where the motorcycle sank, hip-deep in the brine I saw for miles,

east to the Oquirrh mountains, west to the west desert where

Shoshone and Mormon looked hand in hand to heaven through blood.

I lived here as their bastard, and waited in the brine to be delivered.

I was decent in the seam between their visions.


15th East, 15th South

Sit and look

out on the landscape

long gone and the same

of a time when she was sixteen

and a woman, legs rested

on the counter of that drug store

as I played video wrestling.

I saw her years later, which

is now years past. The drug store gone this place

is still the same,

These trees those trees.


The Suburbs

When I came back

from an old country

I delivered

paper to the suburbs.

It was ugly in reverse

proportion to time.

That is, the longer

the more beautiful.

The middle of the

night was the heart

of everywhere the moment

of the embolism,

the pressure forced

them from their beds

at 3 a.m. to spot-

weld the bicycles of

their children. If you need to burn

a sofa behind a brand-

new house, do it

here. Come ye and hear

the night world of behind

the Village Inn.

And then go in. Sit down.

The longer, the more beautiful.


The Canyon  

                      aside for Lorine Niedecker

The road through

the canyon and

the snow and what time gives:

gonna be a father.

These friends in the car and I live,

now, farther

apart than I’d have us.

If close

be kept in words then count us thankful

for the flagrantly modern      (email, etc.

and count it obvious that she,

scrubbing the wood and linoleum

of the island she rhymed into the world,

knew from the lobster pots what modern was,

(and didn’t care)

and so was more of it than we.

At times

I’ve thought her rhymes

were stupid and her story sad.

On the road through other canyons, in different times,

may a daughter say the same about her dad.



There are reasons, things here

people there, but having

never done it I don’t have the words

for leaving.

There was a rat

lived under our garage,

and wore a path from his hole to where

the bird seed fell from

the bird feeder

and back.  

What a shitty life I

thought, and now

it’s mine, wearing

down the highway from there

to here, and back.  

Wait for me at the base of that mountain.  

Dress warm and bring some seed.

I always wanted to write a country song.

Before the sun kills the grass

and the brine mud hardens,

I’ll be coming home to feed.


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Alison Scarpulla

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