Simple Gift

By Cedar Sigo b. 1978 Cedar Sigo
              The mouth of the cavern
is cut along the top like snowy peaks
in cartoons—it zigzags. I sweat onto
my violet shirt in the shape
of a heart, lock that away
behind varnish, a hidden floor
between stalactites
               (long trick knives)
                    A lady of Falconbridge & lady
of Dorset
           torn back
through the center & made quiet
A paper cut black branch set
on a red field. A horse
draws the carriage past a lake
of blue & all the kids
            are laid down
in the forest to live
                   tilt their heads back,
                   Don’t think of stopping
your shooting, more drinking!
These are to be
                       among the permanent
            (wrong) colors
Ice rats in stairwells, above us
centaurs smack their heads
into light bulbs. They get excited
          over massacre
Who were once
     the innocents who never hoped
to live out unspoken prayer. A country
that laid so dark so long
                                 Pyramids send word
     to the painted mountains
               don’t try to lie down
as it gets late. stay on guard
study your drums & then tighten, pound back
          a few shots more
                  ash on the sea floors
Don’t you scrape away too many organs
or paint over.
                   Do not temper the spirit.

Cedar Sigo, “Simple Gift” from Expensive Magic, published by House Press. Copyright © 2008 by Cedar Sigo. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Source: Expensive Magic (2008)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Cedar Sigo b. 1978

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Subjects Arts & Sciences

 Cedar  Sigo


San Francisco poet Cedar Sigo was born February 2, 1978. He was raised on The Suquamish reservation near Seattle Washington and home schooled from the eighth grade onward. In 1995 he was awarded a scholarship to study writing and poetics at The Naropa Institute in Boulder Colorado where he studied with Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, Lisa Jarnot, Alice Notley, and Joanne Kyger, among other poets.  He has lived in San Francisco . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.