Nature Worshipers

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When I was a fifth grader
during the Eisenhower
era, my family of four
took a summer driving
trip in our beat-up Buick
from the Southside
of Chicago to the Grand
Canyon before Zion and
finally Bryce National Parks.

Middle stop, Dad gave me
two dimes to feed vending
machines, plus told me
(like always it seemed)
“As older brother, you
are responsible for your
sister,” then added for
a first time, “Mornings
let Mommy sleep in.
Instead of downing what
leftover food is here, as
a very special treat, have
your breakfast over at
the central mess hall’s
all-you-can-eat. Afterward use these coins
to buy your favorite candies.”

That was the full extent of it
I thought to myself regards
getting out of the concrete
city into beautiful wildlife
—except past those Cowboy
Cabins, where supposedly
there were prairie dog villages
which, truth be told, we never even saw.

Sixty-three years later one
daughter WhatsApped
plus sent several photos of
courageously canyoneering
through awesome soaring
narrow slip rock monolith
corridor slots. Although
apparently alone, she
somehow had managed
a short video of dropping
forever into swirling red
waters. The text message
simply read, “💖 Zion.

 
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Gerard Sarnat is a physician who’s built and staffed homeless and prison clinics as well as a Stanford professor and healthcare CEO. He won the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize, and has been nominated for Pushcarts and Best of the Net Awards. Gerry is published in academic-related journals including Stanford, Oberlin, Brown, Columbia, Virginia Commonwealth, Arkansas, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Wesleyan, Slippery Rock, Appalachian State, American Jewish University and the University of Edinburgh. Gerry’s writing has also appeared widely including recently in such U.S. outlets as Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, New Delta Review, MiPOesias, American Journal Of Poetry, Poetry Quarterly, Blue Mountain Review, Danse Macabre, Canary Eco, Fiction Southeast, Military Experience and the Arts, Poets And War, Cliterature, Brooklyn Review, San Francisco Magazine, The Los Angeles Review and The New York Times. His pieces have also been accepted by Chinese, Bangladeshi, Hong Kongese, Singaporian, Canadian, English, Irish, Scotch, Australian, New Zealander, Australasian Writers Association, French, German, Indian, Israeli, Romanian, Swedish and Fijian among other international publications. Mount Analogue selected KADDISH FOR THE COUNTRY for pamphlet distribution nationwide on Inauguration Day 2017. Amber Of Memory was chosen for the 50th Harvard reunion Dylan symposium. He’s also authored the collections Homeless Chronicles (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014), and Melting the Ice King (2016). Gerry’s been married since 1969 with three kids, five grandsons and looking forward to future granddaughters.gerardsarnat.com