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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, July 6, 2018.
About this Poem 

“This fragment comes out of the latter half of my forthcoming book-length poem Dissolve. In this moment, the poem’s speaker may be offering the reader some kind of strategy for exiting the work. The series of actions: tap, clasp, and ask are ritual movements/utterances that may or may not provide the ways for escaping the poem’s gravity.”
—Sherwin Bitsui

from "Dissolve"

There’s a way out—
walk the dirt road into cerulean dawn, 
tap the windows of cars and trucks 
rattling down highway 77 
with clear fingerprints, 
and clasp the nine eyes of the desert 
shut at the intersection of then and now. 

Ask: will this whirlwind 
connect to that one,
          making them cousins to the knife? 

Will lake mist etched 
on flakes of flood-birthed moonlight 
hang its beard on a tow truck
hoisting up a buck,  	
          butterflies leaking from its nostrils, 
          dark clouds draining off its cedar coat? 

Copyright © 2018 by Sherwin Bitsui. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 6, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Sherwin Bitsui. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 6, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Sherwin Bitsui

Sherwin Bitsui

Sherwin Bitsui is a Diné from the Navajo reservation in White Cone, Arizona, and the author of Flood Song (Copper Canyon Press, 2009).

by this poet

poem

In a cornfield at the bottom of a sandstone canyon,
wearing the gloves of this song tightly over closed ears;
the bursting sun presses licks of flame
into our throats swelling with ghost dogs
nibbling on hands that roped off our footprints
keeping what is

poem

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 sun’s knotted atlas. He was there, sleeping with one eye clamped tighter than the other, he looked, when

poem
1.
I haven’t _________
since smoke dried to salt in the lakebed,
since crude oil dripped from his parting slogan,
the milk’s sky behind it,
birds chirping from its wig.

Strange, how they burrowed into the side of this rock.
Strange . . . to think,
they "belonged"
and stepped through the flowering of a future