Into the Desert

(On spending the 40th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagaski at the Nevada desert underground testing site.)

I went into the desert to plant poppies
and prickly-pear cactus. I went to touch
sagebrush, to smell soapweed and creosote,
to learn the song of the Mountain bluebird.
I went to hear the old names: Shoshone,
Paiute, Washo. I went into the desert
to greet the lizard and the Red-tailed hawk.
I went to memorize her face
and to call out loud the name
of the manitou growing in her belly.

Rose Marie Berger is associate editor of Sojourners.

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