Summer at Poetry Camp of the Lord, with Petroglyphs Santa Fe, Summer 2019 The prickly pear must be prepared properly Opuntia: genus cactus. Paddle nostle thorns & the shape of a hand we must use to carve our names into the rock, the words that form a poem hiding in the ridge & cleft. Eat the flesh both sweet & strange subtle on our tongues & charred with the fire of inscrutable speech, which each of us must interpret in a song or prayer. Magic, the way the wine loosens us to say what we say in the shack the black night, how our mouths pause, inhabit the delicate cat-tail the pine needles simmering to a fragrant tea & the unexpected meat found on a trail. It’s hard to imagine all the animals & plants we might eat. Bodies breaking for us. In the dark we proclaim each death until the sun comes slowly behind the mountain in the morning, illuminating each face as if it were our own.
Marci Rae Johnson works for Legible.com and as a freelance editor. Her poems appear in Image, The Christian Century, Relief, The Other Journal, Main Street Rag, Rhino, Quiddity, The Valparaiso Poetry Review, The Louisville Review, and 32 Poems, among others. Her most recent book was published by Steel Toe Books.