by Joy Harjo
I have missed the guardian spirit
of Sangre de Cristos,
against which I destroyed myself
every morning I was sick
with loving and fighting
in those small years.
In that season I looked up
to a blue conception of faith
a notion of the sacred in
the elegant border of cedar trees
becoming mountain and sky.
This is how we were born into the world:
Sky fell in love with earth, wore turquoise,
cantered in on a black horse.
Earth dressed herself fragrantly,
with regard for aesthetics of holy romance.
Their love decorated the mountains with sunrise,
weaved valleys delicate with the edging of sunset.
This morning I look toward the east
and I am lonely for those mountains
Though I’ve said good-bye to the girl
with her urgent prayers for redemption.
I used to believe in a vision
that would save the people
carry us all to the top of the mountain
during the flood
of human destruction.
I know nothing anymore
as I place my feet into the next world
is vast and stunning,
brims with details
of steaming, dark coffee
ashes of campfires
the bells on yaks or sheep
sirens careening through a deluge
or the dead carried through fire,
through the mist of baking sweet
bread and breathing.
This is how we will leave this world:
on horses of sunrise and sunset
from the shadow of the mountains
who witnessed every battle
every small struggle.
Last updated August 21, 2022