My whole life I have obeyed it—

            its every hunting. I move beneath it
            as a jaguar moves, in the dark-
                          liquid blading of shoulder.

The opened-gold field and glide of the hand,

            light-fruited, and scythe-lit.

I have come to this god-made place—

           Teotlachco, the ball court—
           because the light called: lightwards!
                        and dwells here, Lamp-land.    
           We touch the ball of light
           to one another—split bodies stroked bright—
                                    Light reshapes my lover’s elbow, 
           a brass whistle.

I put my mouth there—mercy-luxed, and come, we both,

           to light. It streams me.
           A rush of scorpions—
                        fast-light. A lash of breath—
           Light horizons her hip—springs an ocelot
           cut of chalcedony and magnetite.
                       Hip, limestone and cliffed,

slopes like light into her thigh—light-box, skin-bound.

           Wind shakes the calabash,
           disrupts the light to ripple—light-struck,
                       then scatter.
This is the war I was born toward, her skin,

           its lake-glint. I desire—I thirst—
           to be filled—light-well.
The light throbs everything, and songs

           against her body, girdling the knee bone.
           Our bodies—light-harnessed, light-thrashed.
                       The bruising: bilirubin bloom,

A work of all good yokes—blood-light—

           to make us think the pain is ours
           to keep, light-trapped, lanterned.
                       I asked for it. I own it—

I am light now, or on the side of light—

           light-head, light-trophied.
           Light-wracked and light-gone.

           Still, the sweet maize—an eruption
           of light, or its feast,
                       from the stalk
                                    of my lover’s throat.

And I, light-eater, light-loving.

Copyright © 2018 by Natalie Diaz. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 4, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

I don’t call it sleep anymore.
             I’ll risk losing something new instead—

like you lost your rosen moon, shook it loose.

But sometimes when I get my horns in a thing—
a wonder, a grief or a line of her—it is a sticky and ruined
             fruit to unfasten from,

despite my trembling.

Let me call my anxiety, desire, then.
Let me call it, a garden.

Maybe this is what Lorca meant
             when he said, verde que te quiero verde—

because when the shade of night comes,
I am a field of it, of any worry ready to flower in my chest.

My mind in the dark is una bestia, unfocused,
             hot. And if not yoked to exhaustion

beneath the hip and plow of my lover,
then I am another night wandering the desire field—

bewildered in its low green glow,

belling the meadow between midnight and morning.
Insomnia is like Spring that way—surprising
             and many petaled,

the kick and leap of gold grasshoppers at my brow.

I am struck in the witched hours of want—

I want her green life. Her inside me
in a green hour I can’t stop.
             Green vein in her throat green wing in my mouth

green thorn in my eye. I want her like a river goes, bending.
Green moving green, moving.

Fast as that, this is how it happens—
             soy una sonámbula.

And even though you said today you felt better,
and it is so late in this poem, is it okay to be clear,
             to say, I don’t feel good,

to ask you to tell me a story
about the sweet grass you planted—and tell it again
             or again—

until I can smell its sweet smoke,
             leave this thrashed field, and be smooth.

Copyright © 2017 by Natalie Diaz. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 5, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

                                    On this seventh day 
                                    of the seventh month, magpies 
                                                  bridge in a cluster
                                                  of black and white

                                    the Sky King crosses
                                    to meet his Queen, time tracked 
                                                  by the close-knit wheeling             
                                                  of stars. I watch. You come

                                    to me tonight, drunk on wine 
                                    and cards, nails ridged black
                                                  with opium
                                                  to ease the pain

                                    of work. We are
                                    all men here. Any
                                                  body can be
                                                  a bridge, little raven,

                                    your eyes squeezed shut
                                    but not from pain.
                                                  We are 
                                                  a trestle, a grade

                                    we build together. 
                                    What matter if you say
                                                  you’d never choose
                                                  me were there

                                    women willing
                                    in this desert. I
                                                  chose. I choose 
                                                  the memory we share 

                                    of rivers, your hair
                                    of smoke and raw,
                                                  wet leather. A man
                                                  in another 

                                    man’s hand makes himself
                                    tool or weapon, says
                                                  the overseer, as if a man’s use
                                                  to another is only one

                                    of work. Pleasure
                                    is our only chosen
                                                  future. You
                                                  are the home 

                                    I briefly make, the country
                                    I can return to. Now
                                                  the moon wheels
                                                  its white shoulder

                                    in the dark as you push me
                                    to earth, slip 
                                                  my whiskered tip
                                                  of hair into your mouth.

Copyright © 2021 by Paisley Rekdal. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 14, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.