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BYRON F. ASPAAS

The Desert Bares My Weakness

for Pam(s)

 

again, you think about him.

bloomed cactus sit at your feet and listen

to words you inscribe—

creation swirls within creation of colored scrawled caverns

drawn, a language no one knows—

no water, plant, or animal

not even sky renders

enough markings remind you,

the visitor, inside bighan,

inside her home

forget what you have seen—

forget the cavern of colors

sifted through the expanse of hand

as sand divides each limb

and wind brushes the swirls

pressed against tipped fingers   

gigantic air becomes you

harsh desert blooms life thought dead

igneous rock coils water under

notice unwashed footprints

jóhaani’éí peeks through clouds

jóhaani’éí, watch those over

like fire, everything burns guilt—guilt

sits under sun-drawn sky

traced landscapes of yesteryear’s formation

untouched voice desires you

monstrous mountains live inside those

spoken environmental truths

not one enters mouth

no need for past secrets

of blessings      

you bathed cedar  

sauntered ceremoniously through words

of whispered winds

emerged in healing

of spoken mountains

—crowned clouds upon head

of home then becomes sky

people don’t know

 

quiet

da’an speaks in silence

reverberation touches throat

dry valleys untouched by wetness,

silhouettes sketch lined-maps you border

time does not wait for you—

time sits at home watching HDTV

reciting memories during commercials—

uneven rocks swivel beneath you

visuals unwind vocal chords you string

wind sways words upside down

xeriscape unearths creativity you seek

your desert land is nothing.

zero, a word you learned in boarding school—

            adín. 

About

Byron F. Aspaas creates stories using images of landscape, which are etched upon white space with words of experience. Aspaas, who is Diné, has earned his BFA and MFA in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts. His ambition is to incorporate writing towards teaching and becoming a storyteller by influencing readers along this literary journey. His work is scattered throughout journals and anthologies; among them are RedInk, Yellow Medicine Review, 200 New Mexico Poems, Weber: The Contemporary West, As/Us: A Space for Women of the World, Semicolon, The Denver Quarterly, International Writing Program Collections, and The Rumpus. He is Red Running into the Water; born for the Bitter Water People. He resides with his partner, Seth Browder, his three cats, and four puppies in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he is working on his memoir.

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