He sat cross-legged, weeping on the steps when Mom unlocked and opened the front door. O God, he said, O God. He wants to kill me, Mom. When Mom unlocked and opened the front door at 3 a.m., she was in her nightgown, Dad was asleep. He wants to kill me, he told her, looking over his shoulder. 3 a.m. and in her nightgown, Dad asleep, What's going on? she asked, Who wants to kill you? He looked over his shoulder. The devil does. Look at him, over there. She asked, What are you on? Who wants to kill you? The sky wasn't black or blue but the green of a dying night. The devil, look at him, over there. He pointed to the corner house. The sky wasn't black or blue but the dying green of night. Stars had closed their eyes or sheathed their knives. My brother pointed to the corner house. His lips flickered with sores. Stars had closed their eyes or sheathed their knives. O God, I can see the tail, he said, O God, look. Mom winced at the sores on his lips. It's sticking out from behind the house. O God, see the tail, he said, Look at the goddamned tail. He sat cross-legged, weeping on the front steps. Mom finally saw it, a hellish vision, my brother. O God, O God, she said.
How the Milky Way Was Made
My river was once unseparated. Was Colorado. Red-
fast flood. Able to take
anything it could wet—in a wild rush—
all the way to Mexico.
Now it is shattered by fifteen dams
over one-thousand four-hundred and fifty miles,
pipes and pumps filling
swimming pools and sprinklers
in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
To save our fish, we lifted them from our skeletoned river beds,
loosed them in our heavens, set them aster —
‘Achii ‘ahan, Mojave salmon,
Up there they glide, gilled with stars.
You see them now—
god-large, gold-green sides,
moon-white belly and breast—
making their great speeded way across the darkest hours,
rippling the sapphired sky-water into a galaxy road.
The blurred wake they drag as they make their path
through the night sky is called
‘Achii ‘ahan nyuunye—
our words for Milky Way.
Coyote too is up there, crouched in the moon,
after his failed attempt to leap it, fishing net wet
and empty, slung over his back—
a prisoner blue and dreaming
of unzipping the salmon’s silked skins with his teeth.
O, the weakness of any mouth
as it gives itself away to the universe
of a sweet-milk body.
Just as my own mouth is dreamed to thirst
the long desire-ways, the hundred-thousand light year roads
of your throat and thighs.