Tonight I draw a raven’s wing inside a circle measured a half second before it expands into a hand. I wrap its worn grip over our feet as we thrash against pine needles inside the earthen pot. He sings an elegy for handcuffs, whispers its moment of silence at the crunch of rush-hour traffic, and speaks the dialect of a forklift, lifting like cedar smoke over the mesas acred to the furthest block. Two headlights flare from blue dusk --the eyes of ravens peer at Coyote biting his tail in the forklift, shaped like another reservation-- another cancelled check. One finger pointed at him, that one--dishwasher, he dies like this with emergency lights blinking though the creases of his ribbon shirt. A light buzzed loud and snapped above the kitchen sink. I didn’t notice the sting of the warning: Coyote scattering headlights instead of stars; howling dogs silenced by the thought of the moon; constellations rattling from the atmosphere of the quivering gourd. How many Indians have stepped onto train tracks, hearing the hoofbeats of horses in the bend above the river rushing at them like a cluster of veins scrawled into words on the unmade bed? In the cave on the backside of a lie soldiers eye the birth of a new atlas, one more mile, they say, one more mile.
Blankets of Bark
Point north, north where they walk in long blankets of curled bark, dividing a line in the sand, smelling like cracked shell, desert wind, river where they left you calling wolves from the hills, a list of names growling from within the whirlwind. Woman from the north, lost sister who clapped at rain clouds. We were once there holding lightning bolts above the heads of sleeping snakes. Woman, sister, the cave wants our skin back, it wants to shake our legs free from salt and untwist our hair into strands of yarn pulled rootless from the pocket of a man who barks when he is reminded of the setting sun. At 5 A.M., crickets gather in the doorway, each of them a handful of smoke, crawling to the house of a weeping woman, breaking rocks on the thigh of a man stretching, ordering us to drop coins into her shadow, saying, "There, that is where we were born." Born with leaves under our coats, two years of solitude, the sky never sailed from us, we rowed toward it, only to find a shell, a house, and a weeping woman.