Sierra | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Courtesy of Byron Aspaas.


A writer forgets how to write
when a writer forgets how to see
oneself through words written,
the voice of a poem drives
all night to watch summer
fall into equinox             to imagine
how words view the world
where words pique atop
the 35th floor of a hotel
built within a desert crossroad
a collection intersects thought—
occurs on a line, sketched, to begin
to write oneself cannot write
a reflection without water—each end
lines a memory to a momentary pause,
silent whispers escape as caesuras
root neon stems together,
as prayer exhales smoke
plumes the horizon lavender
metallic clouds lace cliffsides
where night touches,
for the first-time, day drips
Sangiovese wetted with sun
off the lip of an untouched glass—
light glints darkness.
You ask me if I were fancy,
I reply quickly with no.
Autumn air coils orange inside
a chest of letters made dry with leaves.
When you see hydrangea clouds bulb
and bloom violets, I say think of me.
When monsoon droplets touch desert’s
skin, think of me as Night enters sky—
silver petals cup night’s hellebore.
Ceremoniously, take Valeriana, dream
till morning to write        to floweret.

Byron F. Aspaas is Diné (Navajo) and works remotely from Colorado as adjunct faculty at San Juan College, while teaching continuing education courses with the Institute of American Indian Arts and the Identity Project. His work has been published in journals and anthologies including RedInk, Yellow Medicine Review, the Denver Quarterly, and the Diné Reader.
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