[They inherit a packet of earth]

By Sherwin Bitsui b. 1975 Sherwin Bitsui
They inherit a packet of earth
hear its coins clank in a tin box

push them aside
reap thick strands of night from thinning black hair.

They climb the staircase clenching branches of pens filled with ducks’ blood

and follow the butcher’s bed into this room—
          goose feathers thorning out of their eyes.

They promise to never look down again
down is just a speck of globe dust

                                          just coins clanking in the tin box.

Sherwin Bitsui, “[They inherit a packet of earth]” from Flood Song. Copyright © 2009 by Sherwin Bitsui. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press.

Source: Flood Song (Copper Canyon Press, 2009)

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Poet Sherwin Bitsui b. 1975

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Subjects Social Commentaries

 Sherwin  Bitsui


Sherwin Bitsui, a Diné (Navajo) from the Navajo Reservation in White Cone, Arizona, received an AFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts Creative Writing Program. He is the author of the poetry collections Shapeshift (2003) and Flood Song (2009).
Steeped in Native American culture, mythology, and history, Bitsui’s poems reveal the tensions in the intersection of Native American and contemporary urban culture. His poems . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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