By Hanna Johnson
She sat in the green waters
of the Dolores river
and let orange sand squish
under her wiry thighs.
The grainy sediment left pinpricks of
pigment on her pale skin as
warm water eddied and twirled
around her hips.
The sun echoed off of the water
and stained her freckled back.
Nimble fingers slipped brown
buttons through their
threadbare holes as she hastily
tore off her sun shirt.
She watched the stained blue fabric
float downstream, lazily mirroring the sky.
Black fish the length of a pen cap,
tickled her toes
and placed their mouths on her fingertips
to suck the salt from her skin.
She giggled and tossed her head back
so far that the slow moving stream
coated the ends of her dark hair
In one smooth motion, she scooped up
water and a singular black fish.
She placed her lips close the handheld pool
and whispered a heavy secret.
Her long fingers, with orange dust
smudged under the nails,
unfolded and let the fish go
She watched its midnight body swim
past rocks and reeds, carrying the
small phrase of her.
she laid back,
face to the sky,
back against the glossy surface
and felt herself float downstream
with her whispers and the fish
Hannah Johnson is a botanist working in the red rock vistas and plateaus of Southern Utah. The landscape surrounding her is infectious and filled with awe. Much of her work is inspired by the landscapes and plants she encounters while working and playing among the rocks and flowers.