43. We Discuss the Geomorphology of Life

It’s called saltation, I said,

when grains of sand are picked up by the wind

and blown along, dislodging other grains,

building dunes the size of houses.

The wind is blowing the seconds of our lives away

just like that, saltating seconds into minutes and hours and days.


No, she countered,

it’s like surface waves on the ocean,

the wind pushing and shoving and the waves building

until they crash on shore, pounding

and wearing down everything in their path;

it’s like that, we float from crest to trough,

day to night, spring to fall,

the horizon bobbing in and out of view

the cliffs drawing nearer with each rise, each fall.


You’re both wrong, you said,

it’s like a flash flood in the desert,

rain drops turning soil to mud, mud floating away in rivulets,

in spates, in torrents;

we are tumbling end over end

with water in our eyes and ears and mouths and lungs

never seeing exactly where we are heading,

but always accelerating down the canyon of time,

slowing only as we approach the wide, flat valley floor,

bereft of breath,

covered with silt,

estuarine in our end,

one with the earth in our completion

— Roy J. Beckemeyer

Roy J. Beckemeyer, a retired aeronautical engineer from Wichita, studies fossils insects that lived in Kansas 250 million years ago, and edits two scientific journals. He has been writing poetry since he sent his first love poem to his high school sweetheart, Pat, now his wife of fifty years.

(Won 2nd place in the Poet’s Choice category of the 2010 Kansas Authors Club Poetry Contest.)





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