When It Was Time

When It Was Time | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

"… The photo / says it was Easter: / time of reckoning our eggs …" Courtesy of lisaclarke/flickr.


It was the Time of Few Photos,
in a day when there were more

of us. Really, only a handful
of copies with our faces exist

from that time. The photo
says it was Easter:

time of reckoning our eggs,
every glittered zigzag glinting

to the age when gods began
to be, my little fingers grip

shells soon to round back
over themselves— or to chip,

already hand-stitched roses
bud on my cardigan: earth

pleats, our faces loose
with dust, hair powdered light,

her eyes giving way to a trail
soon traveled—


Already it’s morning, dad
sits, brushing his finger

up and down the soles
of our feet, It’s time.

We begin running
in moon-dark cold.


Already my half smile says
even then I’d never allow—

even in its smallest bloom
to make its way into my eyes,

as though I knew in a month’s
time— she’d hie to the world

we once loved together
before me,
land of fountains: where cascades
my joy as exceeding does my grief.

Tacey M. Atsitty is Diné (Navajo), Tsénahabiłnii (Sleep Rock People), and born for Ta'neeszahnii (Tangle People). Her first book is Rain Scald and she is a PhD student at Florida State University. 
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