Colorado Plateau, Spring 1999

This place comes from a time where no formula exists
Its measure of time courses through my veins
If I choose to observe the plateau like my grandfathers before . . .

My color reflects the land
My shiny Oakley sunglasses are lost in the mass of
related pigments
Natural vision is best in the peak hours of observation
I take companion in my reptile relations
I breathe in the dry heat and
my soul is quieted once again.

It feels good to leave my hair in the crags of this sandstone
My sit-bones are planted into ancestral land
My early spring fly calls attention to the forecast
Whose home do I snuggle?
The impression of my bones are not new to this landscape

I learn to acknowledge the unsaid and
I learn of its presence
both are possible
variables exist
to sit at this place of emergence . . .

I have not told you how the extensions of my brain
wander aimlessly
along the path I leave
My lack of discipline places me

There is a place
Sandstone grit can filer pollution accumulated from birth
Is it only my body that resits such solid a foundation?

It is the memory of my origin
existing in the grooves of my finger tips
and canyons of my blood
and the twisted curves of my skull

I will be swatted as a pest at your ear
I remain gripped by my tongue
My landscape nursing a thirst
like rocks in my pocket
sand in my shoes
transporting my home on my being.

— Esther Belin

 Artist and poet Esther Belin grew up in Los Angeles and describes herself as a U.R.I., or Urban-Raised Indian, “one of the myriad indigenous peoples on the planet to survive in urbanized areas.” Her parents were relocated from the Diné (Navajo) country (father: Birdsprings, AZ; mother, Torreon, NM) in the 1950s as part of the U.S. Federal Indian Relocation Policy.