The Winter Poetry Issue: Natalie Diaz


It is December, and we must be brave.

The ambulance’s rose of light

blooming against the window.

Its single siren-cry: *Help me.*

A silk-red shadow moving like water

through the orchard of her thigh.

Her, come—in the green night, a lion.

I sleep her bees with my mouth of smoke,

dip honey with my hands sweetened

on the dark and hive of her breast.

Out of the eater I eat. Meaning,

*She is mine, colony.*

The things I know aren’t always easy:

I’m the only Native American

on the 8th floor of this hotel or any,

looking out any window

of a turn-of-the-century building

in Manhattan. *Manhattan* is

a Lenape word.

Even a watch must be wound.

How can a century or a heart turn

if nobody asks, *Where have all*

*the natives gone?*

If you are where you are, then where

are those who are not here? Not here.

Which is why in this city I have

many lovers. All my loves

are reparations loves.

What is loneliness if not unimaginable

light and measured in lumens—

an electric bill which must be paid,

a taxi cab floating across three lanes

with its lamp lit, gold in wanting.

At 2 a.m. everyone in New York City

is empty and asking for someone.

Again, the siren’s same wide note:

*Help me.* Meaning, *I have a gift*

*and it is my body,* made two-handed

of gods and bronze.

She says, *You make me feel*

*like lightning.* I say, *I don’t ever*

*want to make you feel that white.*

It’s too late—I can’t stop seeing

her bones. I’m counting the carpals,

metacarpals of her hand

when she is inside me.

One bone, the lunate bone, is named

for its crescent outline, lunatus, luna.

Some nights she rises like that in me,

like trouble—a slow, luminous, flux.

The moon beckons the lonely

coyote wandering West 29th Street

by offering its long wrist of light.

The coyote answers by lifting its head

and crying stars.

Somewhere far from New York City,

an American drone finds then loves

a body—the glowing nectar it seeks

through great darkness—makes

a candle-hour of it, and burns

gently along it, like American touch,

an unbearable heat.

The siren song returns in me,

I sing it to her throat: Am I

what I love? Is this the glittering world

I’ve been begging for?