Dither Me This #13: Delicatus

Dither Me This is a publication that presents current, old, spontaneous, or nonsensical musings for the reader to use as a writing prompt, discuss with a friend, lover, or to read and move on. Authors may present questions, creative processes, or thoughtful means to end the week; and while you may still be left staring at the walls, it is not without a new thought mulling the paint into iterative transformation. Thus we send waves into the electronic ether and see what is returned – extending a baton to the world, only a little afraid to let go. 


13 – Delicatus

by Birch Malotky

-giving pleasure or delight-

In which we journey
through dessert



Pink Cliffs of ice cream
rise in lopsided swirls
packed cheek by jowl
in eonic deep freeze

sunrise—can you taste it?
strawberry, cinnamon, burning orange
cool, bright and creamy
eroding in real time


now cross the intertidal,
edge the Interior Seaway

thick Grey Cliffs of cheesecake
swell with coal-black cookies
and shards that glimmer
like an oyster shell


the Seaway recedes
as we drop into a desert canyon of marzipan
White Cliffs rise to pinch out the sky,
delicate and fragrant,
flaking grains of sugar onto the path

descend to the river
Vermilion Cliffs stand in disarray,
a slumped hillside of interbedded baklava
tumbling chopped pistachios
down thin slopes of filo
improbably stained red


meander an ashy floodplain
dyed yellow, pink and blue
to reach stacked to Chocolate Cliffs
regular layers of airy mousse
thick fudge and rich ganache
somehow unconsumed through time


down, down, down, down, down
to rim of the Grand Jawbreaker
rasped to its core
by a silty, steady tongue

peer over the edge
dizzy with distance
silly with age
saliva pooling on your tongue


Do you think people would enjoy geology more if they knew how delicious it could be?

Delicatus is inspired by the Grand Staircase geological formation that defines much of southwestern Utah, comprising a series of “slopes and risers” which extend roughly from Bryce to the Grand Canyon. Because of the different depositional environments and rock characters, some of the geologic layers (slopes) have eroded more quickly than others (risers). The risers are classified into 5 distinct cliff sections (pink, grey, white, vermilion, and chocolate) that appear sequentially in the landscape as you “descend through time” towards the Grand Canyon and much older rock. This naming system is attributed to the geologist Clarence Dutton who, seated on a high plateau, declared that amidst such scenery “the geologist finds himself a poet.” What makes you a poet? How can you reimagine parts of your environment, mental space, or relationships? Do you have a sweet tooth?

With love,



Birch Malotky is currently a freelance writer/recreator living in her 2000 Toyota Tacoma who wants to do everything in the world, now. She enjoys rocks, apples, the click of a carabiner closing, cooking, and poetry. She believes in social justice, conservation, the power of the human connection, and serendipity. She also spends a lot of time thinking about the way that people relate to their environment and is a terrible singer.

Inspired to respond? Leave thoughts below, in an email, or via Instagram with #dithermethis and tag @bivytales.

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dither me this is a collaborative effort between Sara Aranda, Birch Malotky, and Emma Murray


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