Salt Lake City boasts white tabernacles,
half-filled parks, a mineral 
highway, and archives so vast
they fill mountainsides.
One summer, we researched our family
genealogy there, surrounded by giddy Mormons.
Their screens flickered with famous 
relatives: a Custer, Jackson, Theodore,
Kit. Nothing came up on ours, 
so we went and got burgers at a place
that sold no liquor. The burgers
were okay. But we shared our shakes
and secret smiles and imagined
ourselves renegades in that room.
Old-West-portrait: an Indian girl
on the run with no records and no documents,
her wind-whipped father clutching
his sarsaparilla. We had infiltrated
the saloon and city hall. 
I locked eyes in the burger joint
with the confidence of a pistol-whipper.
The room stirred.
It smelled of grass
and gunsmoke.
I would not be moved again.

Copyright © 2023 by Kinsale Drake. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 5, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.