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from Dissolve

By Sherwin Bitsui

Father's dying ceased
when he refunded this ours
for fused hands plaster-coated
             in a glottal stop's brief paralysis.

Pinpricked holes for eyes,
reversible teeth hemmed in copper thread,
polished brow bone swiveling
through trimmed hedges—
             he atrophies this aftermath,
                          its highest frond withering on maps
                          that dreamed our shadows waterlogged.

He then howls constellation of anchors
flung at blue birds pausing midflight
where pewter wind
                            creaks shut over a raft's hesitation.

He explains the sun,
not carried by horse,
but a ceiling lamp
flickering on our computer screens.

Added: Wednesday, March 28, 2018  /  "Dissolve" is forthcoming in 2018 from Copper Canyon Press. Used with permission.
Sherwin Bitsui

Sherwin Bitsui (Diné) is the author of Flood Song (Copper Canyon Press) and Shapeshift (University of Arizona Press). He is of the Bįį’bítóó’nii’ Tódi’chii’nii clan and is born for the Tlizilłani’ clan. He is from White Cone, Arizona, on the Navajo Reservation. Bitsui holds an AFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts Creative Writing Program and a BA from University of Arizona in Tucson. He teaches for the MFA in Creative Writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts. An ecopoet, he has poems published in Narrative, Black Renaissance Noir, American Poet, The Iowa Review, LIT, and elsewhere. Steeped in Native American culture, mythology, and history, Bitsui’s poems – imagistic, surreal, and rich with details of the landscape of the Southwest – reveal the tensions at the intersection of Native American and contemporary urban culture. Bitsui's honors include the 2011 Lannan Literary Fellowship, a Native Arts & Culture Foundation Fellowship for Literature, a PEN Open Book Award, an American Book Award, and a Whiting Writers Award.

Sherwin Bitsui is a Featured Poet for Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2018. Visit the festival information page for more details.

Other poems by this author