In a cornfield at the bottom of a sandstone canyon,
wearing the gloves of this song tightly over closed ears;
the bursting sun presses licks of flame
into our throats swelling with ghost dogs
nibbling on hands that roped off our footprints
keeping what is outside ours tucked
beneath the warmth of their feet cooling to zero,
as they swarm luminous landmines like gnats,
as thunder shakes white sand from wet hair,
as police sirens trickle from water jars onto squash blossoms,
as starlight, opened inside a darkened room,
begins to tell its story from end to beginning . ..................again.
from Flood Song (Copper Canyon Press, 2009)
Used by permission.
Sherwin Bitsui is the author of two poetry books, Flood Song (Copper Canyon Press, 2009), and Shapeshift (University of Arizona Press, 2003). His honors include a Whiting Writers Award, a 2010 PEN Open Book Award and an American Book Award. He is originally from Baa'oogeedí (White Cone, Arizona on the Navajo Nation). He is Diné of the Todich'íi'nii (Bitter Water Clan), born for the Tł'ízíłání (Many Goats Clan).
Bitsui will be reading at Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness, March 22-25, 2012. Join us!
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