– for James



tahawipisi / protector


After the collapse, a kind solar wind

fills the sails of small lifeboats, pushes

them toward the lighthouse at the edge

of the universe. Bright bodies lie tumbled

on the deck, starry castaways adrift

in a dark ocean with all the maps erased.

Coyote sings them in, the reedy bellows

of his red accordion an ancient shanty.

On the cupola Moon rocks gently, her glow

the beacon of home. Oh my shining ones,

she croons, oh my lost ones. She takes

each burning star into her arms. This

is what Grandmothers do: pick up

the pieces of apocalypse, let brokenness

blaze new constellations into her skin.



akxepa / wake up


While you sleep, the ghost of the tree

beneath your house rises from

foundations, crumbles concrete

and rebar, pushes through plaster

and the 2×4 bones of its dead—knocks

shingles aside, reaches the brilliant gaze

of Coyote, Morning Star, Sky Eagle,

Big Bear, and at last unfurls branches

like ribbons, limbs full of dance

and curve so exultant the moon descends,

settles in a wide fork like a lover

who has waited eons for reunion;

in this way, the tree’s ghost celebrates

her beloved piece of earth,

the relentless patience of roots.



maxana chempapisi / blood-writing


It’s the end of the world and somebody keeps

playing Für Elise on a jet black grand piano;


only the ivory glows in the light of a quarter-

moon slicing through the lid. It’s the end


of the world and stars leap from an indigo velvet

void like loyal paratroopers dedicated to a lost


cause; it’s the end of the world, nothing’s left

except this spinning compass in your chest,


this crater in your heart, but oh that knife

of a moon, it glints like a wound, oh the notes


of that melody glow like cinders rising on wind,

spell out each letter of your wildfire name.



namoes / purify


Someone draw a map. Someone tell

this story. Maybe the moon has fallen

into a sacred wood. Maybe stars hang

like fiery spiders from the white trees

of a goddess’s realm. Maybe swords

have failed, heroes lie defeated. What’s

left except magic? The chaos of curses,

elegance of spells. The servant girl rising

from the ashes of a dank kitchen, her

voice an instrument of glory. The stone

found at the edge of a lake, carved

with signs of power. The forgotten song

that unfurls like a fern from dark earth,

carries the beloved back to us, back

to her throne made of living jewels.