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Almost Midnight

By Deborah A. Miranda

Wife and dogs have gone to bed.
I sit here with the front door open.

Crickets sing patiently, a long lullaby
in lazy harmony. Rain falls

on our tin roof; sharp taps of reality,
start and stop. I breathe myself back

into my body. Come back, self. You’ve
been out fighting demons and bullies

and liars. You’ve been talking
to an electronic box with no ears.

You’ve been cheering for a democracy
that doesn’t exist. We’re all walking on bones.

Some of us are walking on more bones
than others. Breathe. Back into the body,

little one. The human world is broken,
but so beautifully. Corruption of the soul

never shows scars; when you don’t resist,
no wounds exist. Breathe, breathe it back.

In this world, we live in bodies of flesh.
In this world our souls tether themselves

with blood. This is a good thing. Otherwise
we might take wing into darkness,

never touch our Mother, twist language
into silvery shapes. Breathe now. Let

the crickets tell you their truth.
Let it be yours, for now.

Added: Tuesday, June 12, 2018  /  Used with permission.
Deborah A. Miranda
Photo by Kevin Remington.

Deborah A. Miranda is an enrolled member of the Ohlone-Costanoan Esselen Nation of the Greater Monterey Bay Area in California. Miranda’s collections of poetry include Raised by Humans (2015); Indian Cartography: Poems (1999), winner of the Diane Decorah Memorial First Book Award from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas; and The Zen of La Llorona (2005), nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. Her mixed-genre book Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir (Heyday, 2013), received the PEN-Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award, a Gold Medal from the Independent Publishers Association, and was short-listed for the William Saroyan Literary Award. It has been widely adopted for use in Native American Studies and Creative Writing programs both in the U.S. and internationally. For the past 15 years, Miranda has lived in Lexington, Virginia with her wife Margo and a variety of rescue dogs. She is Professor and John Lucian Smith Jr. Endowed Chair of English at Washington and Lee University, where she teaches literature of the margins and creative writing while fending off Confederate dead, rebel flags, and swarming microaggressions that know no season. Poetry is not her weapon, but it is her superpower.

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