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A Prayer for Healing
Thom Caraway (bio)

Red earth land and evergreens
Pinon, Douglas fir, desert willow.
Red dust air valley golding at sunset.
Far down the hill is creek and sage.
In another time zone, my wife burns
her hand blister-bright.

The wash-out cut bank strands
a Fremont cottonwood, half-exposed roots,
dead upper branches. Cicada-killer wasps
burrow red sand, lay eggs, and fly
to search out food. At night,
the moon bleeds rose quartz.

Surely one of these plants
could salve her palm. I find
prickly pear, Cholla cactus,
lilies in bloom, large bells open white.
Run-off cuts new channels
with each blessed rain, a landscape
of abundance as Washington burns,
air smoke-thick, choking and blind.

My wife burns her hand,
and I learn the sharp cadence of high desert
mountains. I cut a leather-thick leaf
from a tree I don’t know, pack it to bring home.

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