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Natalie Diaz

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Natalie Diaz was born in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California. She received her BA and MFA from Old Dominion University. She is the author of When My Brother Was an Aztec (Copper Canyon Press, 2012). She is the recipient of a Lannan Literary Award, Princeton Hodder Fellowship, a PEN/Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship, and in 2018 was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow. She is enrolled in the Gila River Indian Tribe. She teaches at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, where she directs the Fort Mojave Language Recovery Program. 

by this poet

poem

I don’t call it sleep anymore.
             I’ll risk losing something new instead—

like you lost your rosen moon, shook it loose.

But sometimes when I get my horns in a thing—
a wonder, a grief or a line of her—it is a sticky and ruined
             fruit to unfasten from,

2
poem

I have gazed the black flower blooming
her animal eye. Gacela oscura. Negra llorona.

Along the clayen banks I follow her-astonished,
gathering grief’s petals she lets fall like horns.

Why not now go toward the things I love?

Like Jacob’s angel, I touched the garnet of her wrist,
and

poem
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