Behold, the morning-glory’s sky-blue cup
Is mine wherewith to drink the nectar up
That morning spills of silver dew,
And song upon the winds that woo
And sigh their vows
Among the boughs!

Behold, I’m rich in diamonds rare,
And pearls, and breathe a golden air;
My room is filled with shattered beams
Of light; my life is one of dreams,
In my hut on
The hills of dawn.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on November 8, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

Gizaagi’in apii zaagi’idizoyan
I love you when you love yourself

gaye gaawiin zaagi’idizosiiyan
and when you do not

apii zaagijiba’iweyang
when we escape together

gaye zaagijinizhikawangwaa
and when we chase together

wiindigoog wiindamoonangwaa
the demons who tell us

gaawiin zaagiginzinog ozaagiing
nothing sprouts at the inlet

aanawi gikendamang jiigi-zaaga’igan
when we know at the edge of the lake

gii-zaagida’aawangweyang ingoding
where ashes were poured

zaagaakominagaanzh zaagaagoneg
the bearberry stands in the snow

zaagidikwanaaging ezhi-nisidotamang
branches reaching and tracing

zaagijiwebinamang gaye ishkonamang
what we have tossed and what we have saved

as we examine

gizaagi’in, gizaagi miidash ozaagi’aan.

Copyright © 2020 by Margaret Noodin. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 2, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

In the beginning there was darkness,
then a bunch of other stuff—and lots of people.
Some things were said and loosely interpreted,

or maybe things were not communicated clearly.
Regardless—there has always been an index.
That thing about the meek—how we

shall inherit the earth; that was a promise
made in a treaty at the dawn of time
agreed upon in primordial darkness                

and documented in the spiritual record.
The nature of the agreement was thus:
The world will seemingly be pushed past capacity.

A new planet will be “discovered” 31 light-years away.   
Space travel will advance rapidly,
making the journey feasible. The ice sheets will melt.

Things will get ugly. The only way to leave
will be to buy a ticket. Tickets will be priced at exactly
the amount that can be accrued

by abandoning basic humanity.
The index will show how you came by your fortune:            
If you murdered, trafficked or exploited the vulnerable,

stole, embezzled, poisoned, cheated, swindled,
or otherwise subdued nature to come by wealth
great enough to afford passage to the new earth;

if your ancestors did these things and you’ve done nothing
to benefit from their crimes yet do nothing to atone
through returning inherited wealth to the greater good

you shall be granted passage. It was agreed.
The meek shall stay, the powerful shall leave.
And it all shall start again.

The meek shall inherit the earth,
and what shall we do with it,
but set about putting aside our meekness?

Copyright © 2020 by Rena Priest. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 4, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

“to touch and at once be touched”
            —Joshua Beckman

to touch and at once be touched
that’s what the poem does
reaches out w/ its long spindly arms its grandmother arms to hold you    but you are the arms also in the act of reaching, enfolding in yourself all the primness and solidarity and creakiness of the grandparent as it holds you thru the reaches of time  and you are time itself  grandfather time grandparent time  the grandiosity of time ticking away in its grandparent clock, the clock that haunted the halls of your grandparents and the further forebears that measure things not by clocks, but by the sun.  as the dawn rang out, everything was ok, we—our forebears—noted where the light of the sun first fell on the earth at dawn, bitole the sun’s rays, these were holy holy and where they fell is where we placed our firepit, and around that pit laid four stones, and those stones were the four directions, and from them measured out four tipi poles at equal distance, and between these eight more fanning out, and atop it erected a tipi the home of the holy person, and atop the tipi a crown of evergreens and other plants, yaa da’a’ah, the tops of the poles unshorn of their leaves, blessings were conferred, songs happened in time, to the beat of the deerhoof rattle, not to a beat itself  since a rattle’s noise is disparate, spread out, but to the idea or the sense of a beat nestled at the center of the shaking of the rattle and its small collection of sounds, thrill of the pulsatile universe unfolding across time, ‘across’ as if time were a length of thread, or a thing traversed in space    songs, poetry happened across the pulse of time, they were not like a painting making its ‘same damn face whether the Louvre was open or closed,’ but like music    happening in time, so that you couldn’t look at the whole thing all at once, you couldn’t look at its face headon    you had to perceive it apace, at a pace     it didn’t matter whether time was a thing you believed in or not, whether time was a thing that was real or not, whether it coalesced with space, the space you moved through with your foot on the real earth.        you spoke to your lover on a thing called ‘facetime’ because you were far apart in space, hours apart in time, you could not hold each other but you could see each other’s face, you could see the face but not touch it, it was a face as represented by a screen, your faces appeared to each other on this screen  and your voices too could be beheld, perceived, in and across time, and across space  they could be beheld but not touched, face-to-face you could be, of a kind, but your cheeks could not touch like in the song where the lovers danced cheek-to-cheek, and your lover said they didn’t want to have a relationship through this thing through this ‘face’ and this ‘time’ and you agreed.    a thing that everafter sterilized your concern into a thing seen but untouchable, like the painting in the museum, which could be looked and looked at only. ‘touch me only with thine eyes’ some prim poet probably once said.  ‘look but don’t touch’ one of my parents said to the other, speaking of attractive people.  that the gaze is said to touch, it is said to do violence.  take that sunmote out of your eye when you look at me.  take that beam out of your eye.  i am a crap.  i am a happenstance.  i am holy holy.  christ’s eyebeams pierced thomas too you know.    a woman wore the feather of a flicker on the top of the red blanket she wore around her shoulders in the peyote meetings of the lipan, who kept the beat first by a bow they hit with a stick, a stick not an arrow and then by various drums of water.  who tie up a drum in the flick of an eye.    a flicker is so called because the undersides of its wings are yellow, you see them in a golden flash flashing across the forest.  by you i mean me.  my lover once held me creakily in grandparent arms before it became an insect  and one calling all of the old ones of the desert to us, even embarrassed about the beat that it made because it was not native, it being the lover, still it was a holy thing, holy holy, díyín, díyínde, a holy person, singing a double beat, first to the earth and then to me, i am erthes i said, erthes, as two syllables, i felt the pricks the holy pricks of the lauered on the crown of my head and i felt them seeding, i felt them being seeded there, holy holy, there is no god there is only dííyi robert said, but what accounts for that thing we saw in the desert.    i seed and then i saw it, i seed and saw it,  a seesaw is a thing that you see and then you saw, it measures vision across time as the bodily movement of two children going up and going down, sawed in half the measure of my eye, the top of my head took clean off.  looking is not the same as touching.  there is a frog that looks with bifocular vision, the top half of its eye evolved a skill for looking above water, and the bottom half of its eye for looking below water.  when isánáklesh came out of the water she danced on the shore but for a long time she stayed in the water with her face half-submerged.  they didn’t know if it was a man or a woman.  when she came out of the water the bottom half of her face was stained with the minerals of the primordial pond.  the bottom half of her face looked white.  now they paint the girl that way with klesh  the white clay  the earth  on the bottom half of her face.  but she is isánáklesh now she is not the girl anymore.    poetry occurs in time, syllable by syllable.  a trance-state occurs peripherally, serially, over and over and in that state you ‘passed’ time but you didn’t notice the passing of time.  you were as it were beyond time,  though occurring in time and primarily to the beat of the rattle and the rhythm of the singing.    you can touch and be touched in a poem, though it come thru the ear, tho it come through the eye, it touches in the way a person is said to be touched, i’m touched you say when a thing touches you emotionally, and you touch your heart to indicate the heart, to say that that is where you are touched.  the heart is understood to be the seat of love.  a pulse is measured there, a cardiac pulse whose stoppage or whose arrest is death, the stopping or the stoppage of cardiac time.    we saw a snake upon the trail, a smooth green snake undulated into curves, elegant s-like curves upon the moss, hello i said, can i touch you i said, and taking its calm aspect for an acquiescence gently stroked the back of its back   and the snake  straightened out, and faced its face toward me, i do not know what this means in snake language.  perhaps i was touched to touch a snake, touched as in mad, mad as in crazy, feet not on the earth, not on the erthes as the creature itself was, and not its avatar, its whole body upon the earth.    time can have a wrinkle in it,   and wrinkles  can be ironed out.

Copyright © 2020 by Julian Talamantez Brolaski. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 30, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

No, it wasn’t like that—you didn’t see
He was lying quietly, mouth shut, one hand on his chest,
The other frozen mid-stir

We were be side one another
When they found us
                          Be side, what a wonderful word
Be side is the scent I carry
Be side the first man I touched
And his touching me.
Be side him when I woke.
Fully awake,
                          I hear something,
                          Our baby perhaps or
A kitten crying for a saucer of milk
A kitten crying because she is lost
Because she is forsaken
Because she is left alive.
No, not the cat,

Give me your hand, John Hoggatt
Remember our fishing hole at Byng?
A cold underground stream feeds it,
Gorgeous switch canes at the blue water’s edge 
Make sturdy Cherokee baskets

Give me your hand, John
Together we’ll catch a mess of perch,
Cut the canes and load the wagon
We’ll have the folks over for supper
Just a half day’s wagon ride away,
Not far.

Give me your hand, dearest
Just last fall we helped build the Byng P.O.
Named in honor of Sir Julian Byng,
A British World War I hero.
Your father had a conniption.
You an Irishman, putting an Englishman forward!

Give me your hand, Johnny boy
I call you home now and I call you home tomorrow,
A thousand times as our bodies flake into stars,
Mad or sane, Get up John Hoggatt!
You can’t stay in this death bed
Walk on Iva, says John, softly.
Walk on my girl,
My girl,

Copyright © 2020 by LeAnne Howe. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 11, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

Zhingwaak gaa-ozhibii’aan Bamewawagezhikaquay
translated from the Anishinaabemowin by Margaret Noodin

Zhingwaak! Zhingwaak! Ingii-ikid, – Pine! Pine! I said,

Weshki waabamag zhingwaak – The one I see, the pine

Dagoshinaan neyab, endanakiiyaan. – I return back, to my homeland.

Zhingwaak, zhingwaak nos sa! – The pine, the pine my father!


Azhigwa gidatisaanan – Already you are colored

Gaagige wezhaawashkozid. – Forever you are green

Mii sa naa azhigwa dagoshinaang – So we already have arrived

Bizindamig ikeyaamban – Listen in that direction

Geget sa, niminwendam – Certainly I am happy

Miinwaa, waabandamaan – And I see

Gii-ayaad awiiya waabandamaan niin – He was there I saw it myself

Zhingwaak, zhingwaak nos sa! – The pine, the pine my father!

Azhigwa gidatisaanan. – Already you are colored.


Gaawiin gego, gaa-waabanda’iyan – Nothing, you did show me

Dibishkoo, ezhi-naagwasiinoon – Like that, the way it looks

Zhingwaak wezhaawashkozid – Pine he is green.

Wiin eta gwanaajiwi wi – He is beautiful

Gaagige wezhaawashkozid. – Forever he is the green one.

Copyright © 2020 by Margaret Noodin. Reprinted with permission of the poet. All rights reserved. Published in Poem-a-Day on November 14, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets. 

Sleep, my little man-child, 
Dream-time to you has come. 

In the closely matted branches
Of the mesquite tree, 
The mother-bird has nestled 
Her little ones; see 
From the ghost-hills of your fathers, 
Purpling shadows eastward crawl, 
While beyond the western sky-tints pale 
As twilight spreads its pall. 

The eastern hills are lighted, 
See their sharp peaks burn and glow, 
With the colors the Great Sky-Chief 
Gave your father for his bow. 
Hush my man-child; be not frighted, 
'Tis the father's step draws nigh. 
O'er the trail along the river, 
Where the arrow-weeds reach high 
Above his dark head, see 
He parts them with his strong hands, 
As he steps forth into view. 
He is coming home to mother, 
Home to mother and to you. 
Sleep my little man-child, 
Daylight has gone. 
There's no twitter in the branches, 
Dream-time has come. 

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on November 15, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

Ask me about the time
my brother ran towards the sun
arms outstretched. His shadow chased him
from corner store to church
where he offered himself in pieces.

Ask me about the time
my brother disappeared. At 16,
tossed his heartstrings over telephone wire,
dangling for all the rez dogs to feed on.
Bit by bit. The world took chunks of
my brother’s flesh.

Ask me about the first time
we drowned in history. 8 years old
during communion we ate the body of Christ
with palms wide open, not expecting wine to be
poured into our mouths. The bitterness
buried itself in my tongue and my brother
never quite lost his thirst for blood or vanishing
for more days than a shadow could hold.

Ask me if I’ve ever had to use
bottle caps as breadcrumbs to help
my brother find his way back home.
He never could tell the taste between
a scar and its wounding, an angel or demon.

Ask me if I can still hear his
exhaled prayers: I am still waiting to be found.
To be found, tell me why there is nothing
more holy than becoming a ghost.

Copyright © 2020 by Tanaya Winder. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 17, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

You don’t need me, I know, here on
this podium with my poem. You
hunched in the back of the room,
tilted in your hard-earned reservation
lean. You ho-hum your gaze out the
window toward some other sky.  

Dear new blood, dear holy dear fully
mixed up mixed down mixed in and
out blood, go ahead and kick the shit,
kiss the shit from my ears. I swear I
swear I’ll listen. Stutter at stutter at me you
uptown weed you thorn you
petal, aim my old flowered face at the

I know you don’t need me, here on
this podium with my poem. You
pressed flat to the wall, shoulders
cocked, loaded for makwa, for old
growlers like me. You yawn your
glance out the window at the
tempting sky.

Wake me. Bang my dead drum drum,
clang clang my anvil my bell. Shout me
hush me your song, your shiny
impossible, your long, wounded song.
Tell me everything you know, you
don’t. Tell me, do you feel conquered
and occupied? Maybe I’ve forgotten.
Sing it plain, has America ever let you
be you in your own sky?

Sing deep Chaco, deep Minneapolis,
deep Standing Rock, deep Oakland
and LA. Sing deep Red Cliff, sing
Chicago, deep Acoma, deep Pine Ridge
and Tahlequah. Mourn. I think you,
too, were born with broken heart.
Rise. Smash your un-American throat
against the edge of the sky.

You don’t need me, I know. But don’t
go don’t look away. I need you.

Copyright © 2020 by Mark Turcotte. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 23, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

America mourns for the Indian
figure who knelt like a supplicant before dairy,
fatly blessed our milks, our cheeses,

anointed our lands & shores.
The Google tutorials surface—
the “boob trick:” score the box & fold to make

a window for her knees to jut through.
O our butter maiden
brought all the boys to the yard.

Twittersphere so prostrate with grief
petitions are launched for the Dairy Princess:
O our pat O Americana,

O our dab O Disneyesque,
O our dollop O Heritage.
The mourning procession bears witness:

Jolly Green Giant & Chicken of the Sea Mermaid,
Uncle Ben & Aunt Jemimah,
magically delicious leprechaun & Peter Pan—

even the Argo Cornstarch Maiden & Mazola
Margarine “you call it corn, we call it maize”
spokesIndian raise stalks in solidarity.

Mia, aptly named, our butter girl mascot,
the only Indian woman gone missing
that anyone notices, anyone cares about.

Copyright © 2020 by Tiffany Midge. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 24, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

Something Else.
Some one else
Some where else

That place is here,
In my home,
We are here.

I am brown,
Brown hair,
Brown eyes,
Like cookies Feather tells me, and I like to think it’s perfectly
cooked Pueblo cookies.

My kids are something else,
9 different shades of brown,
All beautiful.

My grandkids are something else,
4 brown eyes, 2 blue eyes,
All Native,
Definitely something else, as I watch them be rowdy, be loving,
be here in this world.

We are here
On this earth
In this time and place

In our homes,
On our lands,
In the cities,
With our families, laughing loudly, cooking together, protecting
each other.

We are something else
With our songs
Our dances.

We pray with corn meal,
Eagle feathers,
Medicine bundles,
Burn some sage, make sure to acknowledge the four directions,
as the sun comes up.

We are the something else,
Who were here,
To greet Christopher Columbus

We were born from
This earth,
Crawled out of the center,
Of our mother’s womb, we are important, we are strong.

We are something else,
We are Pueblo people, Plains people, Forest People, Desert
people, Nomadic people, Cliff dwellers, Ocean fishers, Lake and
river fishers, hunters, medicine collectors, horse riders, artists,
speakers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, we are human beings.
We are something else,
We are Native People,
Indigenous to this land.
We are a proud,
Something else.

Copyright © 2020 by Rainy Dawn Ortiz. Originally published with the Shelter in Poems initiative on

Fannie Akpik
leads her dance group
at the high school hallway in Utqiagvik.
clear as a loon's call,
as the warm center of the lagoon where dreams come to surface.
Songs erupted from the Qargi,
flash in the dark,
piece of the moon bitten off,
landing at the tip of the drum stick.
Sealgut covering of prayers
whirring like wind slipping into tied-up hoods.
Whalers come home
to their Elders' voices,
their hands that shape sod and clear snowy pathways,
enunciating real people sounds that shiver
on the tunnel between the heart and throat.

Copyright © 2020 by Ishmael Angaluuk Hope. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 27, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.

What is this nameless something that I want,
Forever groping blindly, without light,—
A ghost of pain that does forever haunt
My days, and make my heart eternal night?
I think it is your face I so long for,
Your eyes that read my soul at one warm glance;
Your lips that I may touch with mine no more
Have left me in their stead a thrusting lance
Of fire that burns my lips and sears my heart
As all the dreary wanton years wear through
Their hopeless dragging days. No lover’s art
Can lift full, heavy sorrow from my view
Or still my restless longing, purge my hate,
Because I learned I loved you, dear, too late. 

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on November 28, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.