Prodigal by F.E. Walls

That moment you knew you were lost,
each rolling ridge of yucca, a duplicate,
the bandit sun stole your water, salt.
The desert locked shut against you,

set thorns, cat claws, spines —
needle-sharp. You are lost
in the foothills amid the stiff wind.
You grab cacti, hear the ravens

as you stumble, fall on a rosette of bayonets.
The boulders beside you once billowed
plumes of liquid rock. Cooled, eroded.
Wind and rain carried their dust to the sea.

Do not be afraid. This fire cooks our changes.

At dusk, the gnarled pinyon pine
blackened in death is a silhouette
against the loosening sun.
Ankle swollen, your slab of body

draining among the cholla
feels a halo encircle the full moon,
double rings of rainbows,
faint indigo repeated twice.

Bright eye of the moon ignores your gaze
though even now you are sought, the prodigal.
The flares alight; the helicopter
churns up each arroyo seeking a sign.
Sing like the owl in the junipers. Don’t hide.

F.E.Walls’ poems appear in Pontoon, Ekphrasis, damselfly press, Avocet, & Strange Poetry among others, the writing text, Writing Across Cultures, & the anthology, Peace Poems V. 2. She blogs at