University of Michigan Biological Station: Bedrock



How did you get here? Like some silicate stowaway

you’ve migrated, perhaps lost from someone’s pocket,

dropped a foreigner into a strange, new geologic place.

The Lower Peninsula is not your home, little sandstone,

you and your sugary swirls of pink that slice

through white like some ancient layer cake of quartz and feldspar.

Your new neighbors are southerners,

Devonian youths,

children of the prehistoric movements of big things,

the products of the yawning scrapings of glaciers, long done with their sleepy odyssey



You don’t belong here,

not here among the humble shales and the mixed glacial tills.

Weren’t you once tucked into a northern pleat of a Cambrian cliff,

coveted by jealous Superior waves?

Weren’t you a child of the Keweenaw,

a piece of the unbounded sandstone mosaic of a lake bottom?

Perhaps you were chosen,

hand-picked for your particularly striking composition by a student of a distant summer.

Did they stand on your native strata, ankle deep on a Lake Superior shoal?

I wonder if they saw you,

submerged among your brothers and sisters,

and knew you’d be theirs, an exhibition of some sedimentary summer romance.

I wonder if they held you there

with dripping fingers

scrutinizing your brazen pinkish proportions

determining your worth.

I wonder if they hid you in a forgotten backpack pocket,

one with a broken zipper that inadvertently emptied

into some neglected nook

of a dusty cabin.


I wonder if they grieved your loss.


Maybe I’ll take you back there one day, little sandstone;

you should not be abandoned.  

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