shima to nuna This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 28, 2012
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i sing you nuna, dark eyes of the wind-soaked earth
fragile in my arms
wet hair like bleeding ink, wet eyes like a calf’s
milk above your suckling lips
white and warm as a heartbeat
so alive it defied the laws we’d built for ourselves
(it could roll off your skin and drift toward the peppered clouds
with the last fragments of our civility in tow
and leave us kicking like hunted birds.)

what stained teeth and talons you would have left us

warm with the blood of those we feared
but you were older than your skin told
with father’s timbered eyes and hands
and you knew
i needed those
so you fed your bones with the stories of our people
the voices of our ochre dust and plains
and when Mother Sun greened the land, you drank her bounty softly
and you stayed, my sweet nuna.
you stayed.
you were the mottled moon and the face within it
your own unfilled story
a new song drying like a spring bird after rain
just warmth enough to cloak a throat for song,

just warmth enough.
when they came for us
they roared on shadow horses and wet roads
their eyes and tongues lusting for red hearts and earthen minds
and the ageless land was whipped and whitened and eaten by the tides
of unfamiliar flame.

the grasses trembled like dogs, nuna,
but you did not cry. you had your father’s whisper.
they herded us on burnt trails

soaked with the words of their false Son
his blood invisible to the dark eyes of buffalo and the dark eyes of distant hills.
come! come! they hissed
without your feathers and eggs
without the skins that warm your shoulders with lips closed
unravel! they said
the threads that melt your feet to prairie grass
the gossamers of light that pool on your babies’ lips and eyes
and weave the stitches of your fiery skies
and people.
leave your all
for your all is dust.
but they had forgotten you, sweet nuna
you, the all that pumped wind through our hearts’ chambers
and quivered with the wisps of our prairies and red-throated birds
and when we walked below the fractals of a grieving sky
aside the mouths of shadow horses and their angels of death
i did not cry, sweet nuna,
for you were all that was
the light untouchable.

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