Summer at Poetry Camp of the Lord, with Petroglyphs – a poem by Marci Rae Johnson

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 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. 

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s