My House is the Red Earth

My house is the red earth; it could be the center of the world. I’ve heard New York, Paris, or Tokyo called the center of the world, but I say it is magnificently humble. You could drive by and miss it. Radio waves can obscure it. Words cannot construct it, for there are some sounds left to sacred wordless form. For instance, that fool crow, picking through trash near the corral, understands the center of the world as greasy strips of fat. Just ask him. He doesn’t have to say that the earth has turned scarlet through fierce belief, after centuries of heartbreak and laughter—he perches on the blue bowl of the sky, and laughs.

“My House is the Red Earth” from Secrets from the Center of the World by Joy Harjo, with photographs by Stephen Strom. © 1989 The Arizona Board of Regents. Reprinted by permission of the University of Arizona Press.
Source: My House is the Red Earth (The University of Arizona Press, 1989)
More Poems by Joy Harjo