Layers of vermilion, gray, and taupe,

stacked like some giant, cosmic cake.

Lines made by the precise,

uncaring etchings of nature.

Red tracks clear,

even from a distant height.

Paths designed for human feet,

meandering and winding.

Frequently intersected

by much more efficient routes

taken by water.

When it deigns to visit,

water surges through

in dangerous frenzies,

molecules bursting apart

and reconfiguring,

ultimately drawn back together

by insistent charge.

Humans,

on the other hand,

need much gentler byways,

their constituent parts

requiring the retention

of much tighter bindings.

Wind lifts the bruised dust

and deposits it elsewhere,

a mere whisper

of the canyon's past.