Country Doctor by Kevin Heaton

The quest for Quivira parts storied
rivers where bluestem and switchgrass
yawn early from wet winters, without
much guidance from the sun.
I salve aloe into deep cuts, and suture
fevers onto windy dreams easting
across the Great North Bend.
Range fires gloat, then hush.
The moon suits up in butterfly weed
orange, then turns ashen above the knoll
where Coronado’ s horse sparked flint
rock, and flamed the hills.
In time, dust settles onto sand plum
roots, and we cellar the little red fruits
in mason jars. The prairie gathers baskets
full of loaves and fishes for wolf
and coyote children.
I pause to place coins on weary eyes no
longer witnessing horizons, and crisscross
two arms at rest beneath one stone.

Kevin Heaton

First published in The Monarch Review, 2011
(Nonnie: Quivira is the "city of gold" Coronado searched for in what is now the US in the 16th century)

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