Blame the sky for reaching down: the moon has never shone so ugly, all this wanting smears lake into fish. It piques me to reel in my line. I refuse to dip even the tips of my fingers in this dam, as unclouded as it may seem. When I wrap myself in my skirt, huddling on the tongue of a tailgate, I realize even the moon bears wrinkles. In her ridges, loneliness waxes clear as a sucker, even in its thinnest arc. In those final flickers, fire beckons me to cross the lake— I want to be at the side of a lollipop, coupled as plain as sugar and water. What beauty comes from her haze? What sweetness wore these hands brittle? The last time I took water, my palms cupped. The last time I tied a knot I lost my fly and line and hook—
Earlier today, I grazed my palms on boulders that shed sand when touched. I was looking to dodge headlights and fishermen, a cool place to squat unnoticed. Meanwhile my live bait, a grasshopper, made its way out of my net, and a ways off couples casted their lines into shallow ebbs. With every throw of their arms they blackened into the sky. My friends—I don't even know them. As I finger through my fly case, I begin to know the stillness of the wings. I nudge them to wiggle. I wish that man hadn't come to where I'm casting, where I had hoped a fish would part his lips for my fly.
A flicker of reflect from moon on lake and eye in you, raked through current: in times like fish skin, all I know is— O wei o na o wei o naa. O wei o na o wei o na'o a'o. O wei o nei o naa o wei o naa. My father taught me how to scale a fish: with knife's dull edge, a shutter of short strokes all along the body, from tail to head, at an angle set to barely puncture, until it's blurred to blackness, until each freckle fades into itself: O wei yana, ya weia naa o, wei ya na ahaa, ya wei o nahoho. Ya wei o nei o na, o wei o na. Until the moon forges me the iridescence of her hands, and for all my wanting, I scale cliffs only to reach blacktop.
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.