from “Dissolve” [On limbs of slanted light]

On limbs of slanted light
painted with my mind’s skin color,
I step upon black braids,
oil-drenched, worming
from last month’s orphaned mouth.

Winged with burning—
I ferry them
               from my filmed eyes, wheezing.

Scalp blood in my footprints—
my buckskin pouch filling
               with photographed sand.

No language but its rind
               crackling in the past tense.

From Dissolve. Copyright © 2018 by Sherwin Bitsui. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.