Remedio : Ocotillo (Candlewood)

To forgive one’s life love for dying, pick the long, feather-like, crimson flowers in early spring, when the desert is in bloom. Boil in river water only. Let cool. Drink at once. Drink when waking, at noon, and at bedtime each day for three full weeks thereafter. If resentment persists, go to your beloved’s grave daily and pray for forgiveness until sound sleep and appetite return.


My last days
May they pass

slow as black smoke
goes father’s

only prayer
of late

No I’m certain

that he stole it
from Adam I’m sure

who first
uttered it

just outside
the Garden

the first night he
spent alone


Copyright © 2020 by Tommy Archuleta. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 2, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“These pieces are from a larger sequence from a collection I am currently working on entitled Susto, which is Spanish for fright. Susto also accounts for a culture-based condition common among many Latin cultures, whereby the soul and body separate. ‘Remedio Ocotillo’ is a Spanish folk remedy meant to heal deep-seated resentment. The accompanying lyric came some years after my own mother’s passing, who dabbled in curanderismo. Couplet lyric tiles and the prose-y remedios that occur as mojóns, or cairns, throughout the work, amount to the blood and bones of Susto.”
Tommy Archuleta