My Brother My Wound

By Natalie Diaz Natalie Diaz
He was calling in the bulls from the street.
They came like a dark river — 
a blur of chest and hoof — 
everything moving, under, splinter — hooked
their horns through the walls. Light hummed
the holes like yellow jackets. My mouth
was a nest torn empty.

Then, he was at the table.
Then, in the pig’s jaws — 
he was not hungry. He was stop.
He was bad apple. He was choking.

So I punched my fists against his stomach.
Mars flew out
and broke open or bloomed — 
how many small red eyes shut in that husk?

He said, Look. Look. And they did.

He said, Lift up your shirt. And I did.

He slid his fork beneath my ribs — 
Yes, he sang. A Jesus side wound.
It wouldn’t stop bleeding.
He reached inside
and turned on the lamp — 

I never knew I was also a lamp — until the light
fell out of me, dripped down my thigh, flew up in me,
caught in my throat like a canary.
Canaries really means dogs, he said.

He put on his shoes.
You started this with your mouth, he pointed.
Where are you going? I asked.
To ride the Ferris wheel, he answered,
and climbed inside me like a window.

Source: Poetry (March 2014).

 Natalie  Diaz

Biography

Natalie Diaz was born in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian community. She earned a BA from Old Dominion University, where she received a full athletic scholarship. Diaz played professional basketball in Europe and Asia before returning to Old Dominion to earn an MFA. She is the author of the poetry collection When My Brother Was an Aztec (2012), . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Body, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Religion, Christianity

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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