When Roots Are Exposed

By Esther Belin b. 1968 Esther Belin
The empty of stomach
manifests silence
a stillness
that levels
coffee in a cup
and in a respectful manner
allows steam to penetrate
the surface.
Reversal of action
has created my sandstone canyon
rooted cedar and sage at my feet.
This movement is where
a tranquility stems.

When my child creates
bubbles through a soapy wand,
I occupy the action of fate
that bursts the perfect form.
A halcyon absorbed
nesting within
the existence of the form
that no longer exists.
The formless form
is where my mind floats.

It is easy to give form
especially with English words
a promotion of mechanical ligaments
binding spirit with assembly-fabricated molds.
Just as my hair poses an appendage of my brain
my tongue poses an appendage of my heart.
I cannot classify this thought as a typewritten symbol.
An ideogram of essence
cultivates my stillness to action.

Esther Belin, "When Roots Are Exposed" from From the Belly of My Beauty. Copyright © 1999 by Esther Belin.  Reprinted by permission of University of Arizona Press.

Source: From the Belly of My Beauty (University of Arizona Press, 1999)

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Poet Esther Belin b. 1968


Subjects Living, The Body, The Mind, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets, Language & Linguistics


A Diné (Navajo) multimedia artist and writer, Esther Belin grew up in Los Angeles, California. She is a graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts and the University of California, Berkeley. Her poetry collection, From the Belly of My Beauty (1999), won the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation.
Belin’s parents were relocated from the Southwest in the 1950s as part of the federal Indian relocation . . .

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SUBJECT Living, The Body, The Mind, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets, Language & Linguistics


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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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