A Tourist in Utah
Carol Novack

In Utah she will meet a man of god in a brown suit white socks and tassel loafers, a little bit old not at all like the usual cleft-chinned ones in deep blue or sometimes oil green Joe's Garage t-shirts and running shoes, disappointed Norman Mailer men with dangerous low flying pheromones and large plastic dice and Barbie dolls dangling from their dashboards; no she will not meet the man everyone says she will meet again and again particularly in Utah she imagines so many versions but he is always burned with youth bursting with seeds like a fat cactus, always obsessed.
In Utah she will change her taste without warning; her friends will blanch when they find she has disappeared into the foreign life of the seemingly suitable man, lost forever because his nails are manicured, fingers long and agile suggesting Chopin piano sonatas if she closes her eyes, his fingers not like the blue man's that look mean and violent if you look, she thinks they seem much too strong all those weak blue men's fingers do, while the fingers of the brown man are quiet earnest capable of cradling her face. She's been imagining the end of her life alone in a city of solitude. The brown man is resolute, steadfast in slow lanes, will not waver she imagines, imagines the brown man. She forgets she has always detested tassel loafers; they remind her of cheer leaders.
In Utah she is poised on the ledge of knowing there is no going back no children to carry her beyond her obese city of cinders no memories of any moment but those of sudden colors. Here now under a Miro blue sky there is always a sense of landscape, sudden color everywhere one turns something startling an unexpected lush or dry or white an unbearable quiet or loud an everything that is nothing a nothing that is everything so much emptiness to fill one would think when one would least expect she will find her plot; and they will meet at the Tabernacle well in front of it as she's about to dismount from her camel; he will offer his hand with the promising fingers the temporary end of solitude, a vacant space. "I am only a tourist in my walking shoes," she will explain not knowing why. "I am only a man in a brown suit," he will reply and the camels will retire to the parking lot to wait for the tourists. The man is so cunning he sees her terror and knows what to do with it. He will transform her terror into vacant hope.
Into Utah the guides carry atheists on camels, tourists who believe there are no camels in Utah. So say the Elders knowingly amongst themselves, laughing with the brown man as the caravans arrive; these tourists know nothing, particularly Mailer. So say the families inside their prayers as the guides lead the tourists into the frozen heart of Utah; so say they of the women whose hips are wide enough to bear their children, whose lips are promising hosannas. The families will claim these women, turn their void hearts toward the Utah god.
In Utah, the brown man will claim the woman so abruptly capable of seeing her death in a different light as she dismounts, so suddenly grasping the gestalt of the plot, the offer of death in community and god, the prison in which Gilmore released his last primal sigh.