Maroon Bells by Khadijah Queen


Aspen, Colorado

We walked until we couldn’t see
anyone else, just columbine and rockfall,

past neon evergreens, a vee
lit before sunset & lake-doubled

mountains lavender in shadow,
hair-thin aspens, too far to hear

giggling & teetering tourists in gold sneakers
posed on stream-glossed stones, as a bride

& groom, barefoot in silks,
keep climbing whitened driftwood

layered into a beaver dam, grunting
as they hold onto each other,

frowning as they try to stay clean, we walk
as if our wisp of these millennia listens in



Khadijah Queen is the author of Conduit (Black Goat/Akashic Books 2008), and Black Peculiar, which won the 2010 Noemi Book Award for Poetry. Individual poems appear in jubilat, Aufgabe, Villanelles (Random House 2012) and many other journals and anthologies. She is a Cave Canem fellow.