#45 Shiprock by Terry Lucas

(Tsé Bit’a’i)

Cutting your way through dust storms, waves
Of sand blow over your prow, settle on foils of stone,
Wash down the ribs of your hull to crystal sea.

         The Navajos say you sailed from the north,
         
A great bird saving their people from the flood,
         
Crashing into the desert, burying all
         
But your wings and tail:  sole cremain of salvation.

What is it that makes a man or woman
Set out on foot for you?  Your jagged masts that reach
For gibbous moon?  Ancient lens of atmosphere?

         The old ones still believe the blood
         
Will return to petrified feathers,
         
Carry them away when the flood returns.

Grasses and sedges with no names, abandoned
Frames of cars and trucks, a valley of dried bones
That will never rest, that will never rise again?

         Shiprock, cry out from beneath the desert,
         
Call your brothers and sisters from the flood.

The overwhelming flood of sand
Is all that will mark their graves.

         Sand enough to stem the flood.

 —

Terry Lucas’s full-length poetry collection, In This Room, is forthcoming from CW Books in February of 2016. His work has appeared in Best New Poets 2012, Crab Orchard Review, Great River Review, and Green Mountains Review. Terry is the Co-executive editor of Trio House Press. For more information, see www.terrylucas.com.

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