He was there--
before the rising action rose to meet this acre cornered by thirst,
before birds swallowed bathwater and exploded in midsentence,
before the nameless
began sipping the blood of ravens from the sunís knotted atlas.
He was there,
sleeping with one eye clamped tighter than the other,
he looked, when he shouldnít have.
He said, "You are worth the wait,"
in the waiting room of the resurrection of another Reservation
and continued to dig for water, her hands, a road map,
in a bucket of white shells outside the North gate.
He threw a blanket over the denouement slithering onto shore
and saw Indians,
leaning into the beginning,
slip out of turtle shells,
and slide down bottle necks,
aiming for the first pocket of air in the final paragraph.
He saw anthropologists hook a land bridge with their curved spines,
and raised the hunters a full minute above its tollbooth,
saying, "Fire ahead, fire."
When they pointed,
he leapt into the blue dark
on that side of the fence;
it was that simple:
sap drying in the tear ducts of the cut worm,
his ignition switched on--
blue horses grazing northward in the pre-dawn.
Poem from Shapeshift, reprinted with permission of The University of Arizona Press