I string a row of bats around my neck, for luck, their tongues pinkly tickling.
My dog, the one who inexplicably likes licking the floor, will draw the protective circle around me in dog saliva, magical in its own right. The bats rustle their wings nervously and snakes at my wrists let out little anxious rattles.
I will pray for the rivers to be undammed so each tender stream that once had salmon tickle their underbellies on the rocky bottom can again feel the rush of lust driven swimmers. And river rocks: Slimy moss covered or smooth and worn, boulders at streamside dazzled with yellow and orange lichen,
I will pray for you.
I will pray for the oak trees on a yellow hillside alive with acorn woodpeckers recklessly screeching their noisy conversations. A fallen antler is beneath the trees, small and forked like a snake’s tongue. I bring it home and pray to it.
I gather powers long gone fallow, formless and unused. This is my last shred of hope, a prayer offered by one who doesn’t pray.
I call the wolf, the coyote, puma and jackal, their snarly breath quiets at my command.
– Pray for those who are lost, pray for me, who cannot pray, pray for our children, I ask them, I will pray for yours if you pray for mine.
I will pray for the condors to mate in the wild, for wolves to once again roam our hills, just outside cities even, and enough deer to keep them happy. I will pray for tortoises and coyotes to have some desert left, filled with cactuses and Gila monsters.
I will pray for your children,
blue whale, grizzly, elephant, snow leopard. I will pray for good nests for owls, for the snail darter, the gnatcatcher, and
for each of you who are lost, and have no more home to go to.
I will pray for the bobcat, gray with ashes, running from a fire
I will pray for your children, if you will pray for mine.