kúx kúx kúx, himúuyce. (the stepping sounds of deer & humans) Steam rising.

It was here I learned
to stand

—to walk within the walls
of the earth.

I would watch the field’s

darkness: purpling
towards light. With my lips

parting to know
that someday soon
snow would fall

inside &
through me.Like a god-

awful version
of my living body:       its exit

wounds still pulsing. It was here

I looked in-
to the gray-lit

reservoir & saw
this face—the first time I grew

afraid of my own eyes.I found a body

as warm as a father
in the rye.

Steam curling into air, the honest

scent of blooded
like breath pried

from its ghost, the deer gave me

its failing antlers &
we stayed until winter

ended. It motioned crawl—
crawl into me.

As if to say this will change
everything for you

—& you will live
here, scraping
the walls

of my ribs as you grow.
This was the first

time I no longer felt
afraid: I knelt

into its wintered body as
if offering my own

small life
to a god spent
of being

so made in its flesh.

’éyncels hitéem’iksix ’aqáamkin’ikaay / hitqasáwqsa misyiyéewkt, héetewit. – Hymn #96

For the saints / are coming

marching in- / to the body like
what god does

to the hands at ease / they pull
our legs up
above the sky- / line until

our mouths are pried / opened

into a wintered hush / that
sinks in- / to the gray

flesh of the lungs / don’t ask why—
why / am I
here / at the collected teeth

of someone’s
/ from under
the arms / they drag us

to the gates / pearling
a white like point-blank
snow. Laid out / side-by-side

a knife / held
inside their shadows / moves over

our throats
we need these / these bodies
to prove once

again how wounds
only reopen / when touched

their masks / the color of
light / bruising
their faces / hold still

one of the saints says / the voice
like the hours / of rain
at the moment of / impact:

how a body
hits the earth & almost

disappears / half-
merged into the walls
of this smeared
heaven / this won’t hurt
at all

the autopsy
is in / the mirror
the bluing sky
I reach for some-

thing—anything / to hold
onto / forgetting

I had a body / no longer:

a hand holding back.

& The Dirt

as in I’m scared
not by how much I need,

but by how much I’m prepared
to wreck to make it

Barry Four Voices

I tell myself that I feel love but people like me don't feel things like love. Do they?