Highway 126

for Margo

by Deborah Miranda
In these days when I am broken
you walk beside me on the highway
between sanity and what I've lost,
guard my left side
on this thin asphalt shoulder
wedged between hulking semi-trucks
and a dry ditch of wildflowers. Look, you murmur,
Yellow Evening Primrose swooping right out of rock!
You congratulate clumps of Chamomile clinging
to earth, encourage Black-eyed Susans
staring bright and stark,
caress purple blossoms blazing
like tiny orchids amongst the pebbles.
In the vacant lot knotted with tall stiff grass,
you admire the tumbling
crazed vines and tendrils of wild sweet pea.
Hand on my back, you turn me
into the coolness near the river, onto a carpet
of tiny twin-flowers and lavender stars. You feed me
the hidden too-sweet strawberries I've forgotten,
stoop swiftly to retrieve a feather flashing
indigo and black in the chickweed.
In these days when I am broken,

you find healing herbs and medicines springing up
from dirt and gravel, the cracked ditch wanting rain,
stones churned up by passing cars. Everything heals, you say,
even Foxglove cups a secret in its soft paws:
digitalis to ease the racing heart,
or capture it once and for all. We walk
alongside power, or through it -- carrying
our illnesses, fearing all giving has gone to grave.
You place crushed stems in my hand,
bathe my fingers in pale green fluids,
tell me the world is full of cures.

It will be years and countless walks down other roads
before I see with your eyes:
this land strewn with weeds and miracles
sown in equal number.

From The Zen of La Llorona, Salt Publishing, 2005.
© 2005 Deborah Miranda

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