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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


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


Haven’t they moved like rivers—
like Glory, like light—
over the seven days of your body?

And wasn’t that good?
Them at your hips—

isn’t this what God felt when he pressed together
the first Beloved: Everything.
Fever. Vapor. Atman. Pulsus. Finally,
a sin

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