I flew into Denver with my husband John and his daughter.  His father had just moved into a final nursing home and when we got there he’d just tried to strangle himself with his emergency cord.  Perhaps shaken by this, my step-daughter became impossible (she was 19) on the holiday. We then embarked on exploring the four corners – Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.  I promised myself that the next time I visited the Grand Canyon, I’d go alone.


We stayed at a Lodge on
The North Rim – which was run by Mormons.
Manic friendliness faltered
Into quickly-masked disapproval
When you ordered a second bottle of wine.

Ancient trees, strange flowers,
Prehistoric squirrels and wild turkeys
Glimpsed on a dew-soaked upland as we raced to the rim
To try and get there before everyone else.

Mile-deep cliffs and piers
In ginger-striped stone.
A tiny raft, making its way
Along the river below –
The other people
Were mainly European.
Boisterous Italians, aloof
Frenchmen and an uneasily serious African woman
Who looked at you
fooling around on a ledge
And wasn’t amused.