Category Archives: Poems

Unsold

Understand when I tell you
that I do not want your fucking money.

Money is a weapon
that white men wield
to feel powerful

and I do not aspire to be a white man.

Look around me;
I am rich.

Count the salmon scales
stuck to my skin
as I prepare the smokehouse,

the little feathers caught in my hair
as I work on geese,

the footsteps of all the dances to come
when the deer that feeds me
also gives me rattles for my apron
and all of the gracefulness contained
in its hooves.

There is no generosity in money.

What you call a resistance movement
is not about resistance at all;

my life is the reiteration
of an act of utter, joyful
submission
to the wisdom of the higher laws
that guide me.

You got the movement part right, though.

Those deer hoof rattles
urge a brown girl to dance.

Advertisements

Ossuaries (poem)

i.

My love,
I want to braid your bones like rivers,
I want to weave them close
like the branches of a sapling
that is glutted with the green blood
of spring.

ii.

My love,
give me your bones.

This is the body that your mother unearthed
with her sweet, brown hands.
This is the flesh that your father pulled up
like a stubborn root.

It will return someday, this body,
to the ground and to the grasses;
it will burrow into the rich earth
and your bones will seem a fitting gift
to one who knew the story of the hands of your father,
of your mother’s knuckles like knots
in hard wood.

iii.

My love,
I love your bones with the certainty of winter
which makes stories and birdsong visible,
hanging suspended as fog in the cold air.

I love your bones, your definite bones,
with the same implacable love reserved for the invisible made definite:
stories, and birdsong.

iv.

My love,
your sweetness lies between the flesh and the bone;
your sweetness is written in the marrow.

v.

My love,
let me gather up your crooked bones
a build a story-shelter,
a house of sweetness;
let me gather up your crooked bones
and build the story of your sweetness
from the sudden tangible language
of winter birdsong.

Kinglet

I want to greet you in the space
where trees become stars –

here, the stars seem tangled
in bare branches and you,
you are far from me.

Somewhere, the groves are becoming
constellations, and my arms and shoulders
ache with the need to transform
into wings.

Somewhere, the groves are becoming
constellations, and you, you are dreaming,
inexplicably, about catching stars and leaves
in your beak.

Untitled (poem)

i.
Your words are fleet and bright
and light, my heart,

but you look like a wolf
when you smile.

ii.
With your lower lip between my teeth
I taste meadowgrass, the fog.

With my lower lip between your wolf’s teeth, love,
all I can taste is your bright, bitter longing.

SOL

A short series of my poems has appeared in the October issue of SOL: English Writing in Mexico. This issue (as always) is filled with beautiful poetry, fiction and non-fiction, and I encourage you to read it through with a cup of tea in hand!

Silhouettes (poem)

If your body is clay,
your garments must be fallen leaves
clinging to your skin
with the lingering rain.

If your body is strong cedar
or simply a small thing, carved
from the inner stalk of devil’s club,
your hair must be old man’s beard
and the dewy cobwebs
of night spiders.

If your body is slight, indefinite,
a silhouette etched by the tide in the sand,
your eyes must be dark abalone
and your tongue a slick frond of kelp.

If your body is flesh, my love,
you must be lost to me.

Pinus contorta (poem)

My love, let me lean into the wind
of your grief and desire
with the grace of a twisted shore pine.

Let me bend like a tree
against the force of your emptiness,
and you and the sky and the island beneath
can shape me into a story I will tell
with the whole of my body,
in the language of weather and loss.

When the story is done, love,
turn to joy and a wave, and sweep clean
this place where stories are born.