Without me, she said. Go—
I’m going to the rock
that once had wings. My life
rolls like rock clods
down a volcanic throat. Circle
the tips of big winds beneath

~

poised arms    wing bone,
surrounded & closing,
dust hinge. In upstroke, a slow
separate in landing then take off. To take
air, those inward whooshes    as if blessing
oneself. That sound of marrow leaving
the hollow.

~

pop. This woman knelt with women,
filling the earth: mush in tin
after tin, filled in with the breaking
sun. Kneeling down, she’d flap
dough at the wood pop,
her hands whirring. The air
bubbles rising with heat ready to—
Later she’d send me to 7-2-11
clenching quarters for—

~

at two points: they say a man flew
with a life feather, quill in hand
from the top of Shiprock, down
to the people, having slain
monster birds. Plumes
and all their vanes ending
in flight, humming after bird strike

~

A female eagle swooped east,
she once told me. It was like gold
whirring in the blue of my wind-
shield. I was in my truck, driving
and listening to Peyote songs
when it happened. I had never seen
so much dust.

~

When skin slats, layered
like stone then collapses—

a red grows gray. Aspen expands
to the hush

of this cedar-filled room. When
her neck grew heavy, she said,

The music helps me. Press play:

Hei hei ya wena hei nei, Hei hei ya wena hei nei;
Hei hei ya wena hei nei, nei; Hei hei ya wena hei nei;
Ya na hei ya na hei o weno hei nei;
Ya na hei ya na hei o weno hwoi na hei nei yo wei.

Tacey M. Atsitty, Diné, is Tsénahabiłnii (Sleep Rock People) and born for Ta'neeszahnii (Tangle People) from Cove, AZ. She is a recipient of the Truman Capote Creative Writing Fellowship, the Corson-Browning Poetry Prize, and Morning Star Creative Writing Award. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Cornell University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Kenyon Review Online, bosque, Prairie Schooner, Crazyhorse, As/Us, New Orleans Review, New Poets of the American West Anthology, and other publications. She lives in Utah.