carried me away,
steaming. It was raining.
like a child.
by the door,
through the gate.
which anchors shame.
(first published in Cream City Review)
Lung that Gives and Takes
After Grandfather, a crushed spider
at stairs’ heel, Koko dreamt a see-saw
under her feet—black from chasing Dusk
to the reservation’s playground—sprang
up by force of Wind, Montana’s lung,
launching her over wires, trees. Airborne,
Koko released her girl’s body, and
having always been a Crow, flew north
into a hole unplugged by the Moon.
Koko woke, shook like a tree in Wind,
and shed her covers. She unknotted
her thick braids from her ankles, then wrapped
her long black hair back into a bun,
completing the ritual against
sleepwalking after family death.
She felt down her stomach for the signs
of a pecking: red, V-shaped ridges.
Thought Crow: I am contained by Koko.
On the Last Night of Our House Arrest
I stood at the door,
watching my lady
sob against the window frame.
My eye is a doorknob.
“His eye is a doorknob,”
she was repeating to herself.
My heart is covered with flour.
“His heart is covered with flour.”
“Rain,” she sung under her breath,
“rinse the captor, rinse this house.”
We needed rain,
but soon enough the night was
falling, first in driblets, then like shot birds.
The clouds huddled together for warmth
as her skin became very cold
and the floor beneath my feet
(first published in Solo Novo 122 Days)
In the river
I found myself
alive as the clam.
Later, sleep struck
chords in my stomach,
signaling the body’s winter.
I doused the flame of waking
taking all the particular measures—
no sense dying without knowing it.
I crawled out
through a tunnel of parted grass
bent overhead, one droplet hanging.
Last week, after flood, waking and burning,
I found myself again,
the skin peeled like paint.
And after I decided enough was enough,
I came to a door,
but this time, I opened.