By guest blogger Danny Rosen, geologist and poet, for Accretionary Wedge #45, Geological Pilgrimage. Photos by Hollis.
I wanted a trilobite. I wanted to find one myself. I was prepared to go a long distance. My buddy Bert, a fellow federal garbageman, told me of a friend whose brother had a rock shop in Delta. I drove to Delta. Lyle probed to find out if I was a seller in disguise. Nope, I just wanted to find my own trilobite, and I knew Bert. Lyle drew a map. I filled my water jug and drove out of town on Highway 6, turned onto gravel west of Hinckley, headed over Marjum Pass toward the Wheeler Amphitheatre in the heart of the House Range.
I spent a couple days walking the sharp ridges, turning over detritus, finding many fragments, sleeping under Cambrian skies. The only other people around were a couple of Lyle’s men, working a quarry. At last, I found Trilobite Jesus, Elrathia kingi, one-eyed and quiet, segmented and frozen, beautifully imperfect. I asked the man what it was worth. He eyed the jagged hard shale and said, “Well, if a Texan wanted to give fifty bucks for it, I’d take it.” We’ve been together ever since, almost thirty years, Trilobite Jesus and me.
|Danny and friend.|
He didn’t die for my sins,
but from a sudden build-up of ash,
a thickening weight.
The last new level of the sea found him
awash on a hardened beach, by a river,
burrowed in, covered over, fast asleep
in far Utah, able to send one last signal,
as the mud thickened about his lobe,
all his work turned to stone, he lost hold
of every belief. Trilobite Jesus.
He did not die for my sins,
but He came back,
and I am drilling a hole in His head
with a carbide hammer-drill bit,
to wear Him around my neck
like an albatross, to mark this moment,
this moment on the cross.