Navajo Medicine Woman

Navajo Medicine Woman

She draws the line of life

halfway around the hearth,

thanks the fire

water

air

earth.

The patient faces east, the sun, the door.

A fee is given.

The healer with feather fan

wafts smoke

upward from heel to head.

Each relative repeats the blessing.

The bitter peyote-root libation is passed.

The fireman bringing embers

heaps the hearth:

the central keyboard

of prophecy.

The medicine woman plays

the tonal variations

of the coals and sees:

the souring

the wound

the balm.

Kneading the peyote-balls as sacrosanct,

transformer, she kneels,

absorbs each person’s prayer into her opaque sybil eyes

and through the night’s heat,

peacepipe

smoke

and sunrise

she radiates voltaic ransom

for the patient’s will.