Balanced Rock, Big Bend National Park

Today feels like a good day for a poem.

I wrote “Balanced Rock, Big Bend National Park” after my first trip to Big Bend in March of 2011. In November of 2013, I was visiting the park for the second time when I received word that my poem had won first place in the Poetry Society of Texas‘ Derry Tutt Memorial Award. Both the honor and the coincidence brought me great joy. The poem was published in PST’s A Book of the Year 2014, and now I’d like to share it with you here.



Balanced Rock, Big Bend National Park

Light lays down
on the outcropping of stone
vertical peaks rise smaller, smaller
suggesting skeletons—
          desert dragons sleeping beneath the surface.

Twilight creeps up from behind
drops the temperature
          like it was an accident
nudges thoughts to posted warnings
moves mind from buried beasts
          to live ones.

Hiking down is never the same—
shadows alter landscapes
          scoot boulders, shift footpaths.
Shoe slips on loose gravel
dislodging composure.
Two buzzards perch on cliff edge
          for mood.

Dusk in my eyes
a rock clutched tight in my fist
          step, listen
          step, listen
wonder if the mountain lions
are hungry.


© Carie Juettner
All rights reserved.

Published by Carie Juettner

Carie Juettner is a former middle school teacher and the author of The Ghostly Tales of New England, The Ghostly Tales of Austin, and The Ghostly Tales of Burlington in the Spooky America series by Arcadia Publishing. Her poems and short stories have appeared in publications such as The Twin Bill, Nature Futures, and Daily Science Fiction. Carie lives in Richardson, Texas, with her husband and pets. She was born on Halloween, and her favorite color is purple.

4 thoughts on “Balanced Rock, Big Bend National Park

    1. Thank you! I have to admit, I stole that line from my brother. Once when we were walking through a wooded park at dusk, he said, “I have dusk in my eyes,” and I stuck that awesome phrase in my pocket to use at a later date. 🙂 It’s all good though. He is notorious in our family for stealing jokes from me.

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