Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence


Sara Marie Ortiz
Prairie Schooner, Vol. 86, No. 4 (Winter 2012)

Last night
and for some days preceding
a holy migration:
of praying mantises,
and a single black
salamander with yellow spots,
the slick shiny black wet body
of him moved slowly
just outside my front door,
gentle, on the mat that says
‘‘Welcome.’’ I am thinking now
of your ability to survive—somehow, amid fire,
and for the growing back
of lost or severed limbs, and how I’d been praying,
only minutes before, a prayer for, of,
exactly this, whilst human.

It is the desert but,
if they do exist at all,
we are near wetlands of a sort,
nestled near the mesa
and the petroglyphs. And there
are owls nearby. But the migration
is something I’ve never seen,
the mantises,
the undulating,
veined bodies of worms,
and the salamander—
hungry, no doubt—
all, making their way slowly
toward my door.