Afternoons flow like warm honey,
the sun a soft scar
in such a celebration of sky,
a hush holds you sweetly
like spring and summer
have fallen in love and
cannot stop holding hands.
Even a river could lose its way
but there is no river here,
only dust swirling between tufted grass
and silence swelling wide like a secret
that everybody already knows.
Nothing rushes in these clarion
canyons, not even water.
A mantis prays,
tilting her head heavenward
and I stand captivated.
I want to believe that she stands
in the gap, holds the line.
That she drops to her impossibly
small knees and implores the universe on my behalf,
each explosive morning and again through crisp, black nights.
If there is any justice in the world,
each of her meals is a dedication
to the gods of mother nature.
Each head torn off is a sacrifice and a curse.
A plea to end mankind’s pillage and bring blessed silence
back to these hollow sunlit mornings.
hands pressed together, head surrendered
to the heat of the dirt
and pray for the first time in my life.
The mantis tells me,
you are not lost.
You are inclining toward grace
and it is this place that will redeem you.
Note: this piece was written for the Literary Inventory of the Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks, edited by Eric Magrane, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Geography at New Mexico State University. It was published at Spiral Orb.