Brooke Sahni

Letter to Sycamore Canyon

A July day hiking inside your depth, and I wonder,
should I stay here, when all seems to be hot rock, and fire-prone

a vastness I’m not sure I can handle?
My friend says, mountain lion territory. You, that is deep

and rocky, with so many hiding places.
What are you trying to tell me?

We are sweat-slick and I miss wet soil. Above us,
ravens blaze in their blue-black and I do not

love you yet. There is a long path we must travel
to get at what I had believed was ordinary.

What does it feel like to make people work for it,
the way lovers have to work for the reward,

all that sweet unraveling? Just wait, my friend says.
We walk further into you.

And then there are sycamores, green and gracious and glowing.
Just wait, she says. And here is your unraveling—

the wet blue of you. This is just one of the ways
a love letter can begin

a hard crawl in heat, the easing into,
the sweet shock
of the plunge.



Brooke Sahni is the author of Before I Had the Word (Texas Review Press, 2021), which won the X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize, selected by Maggie Smith. She is also the author of Divining (Orison Books, 2020), which won the Orison Chapbook Prize. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in journals such as, Denver Quarterly, 32 Poems, The Missouri Review, Prairie Schooner, Boulevard, Indiana Review, Sixth Finch, Cimarron Review and elsewhere. She lives in the high desert mountains of Arizona where she writes and teaches.