A Poem for the háawtnin’ & héwlekipx [The Holy Ghost of You, the Space & Thin Air]

’inept’ipéecwise cilaakt: (I am wanting to) hold a wake / (I am wanting to) hold the body

Had this body been made
of nothing

but its bright skeleton & autumn-

blown skin
I would shut my eyes

into butterfly wings
on a mapped earth. Had the gods

even their own gods, I could re-

learn the very shape
of my face in a puddle of sky-

colored rain. Extinction is
to the hands

as the lips are
to the first gesture

the tongue carves into the slick mouth

just before
prayer. In every way

the world fails
to light the soft inner

machine & marrow

of the bones in motion — I imagine

smudging my tongue along a wall
like the chest

I dare to plunge in-
to, the Braille of every node

blooming out
as if the first day-

light of wintered
snowfall. This night — 

like any fleshed boy I dream
of a lyre strung

with the torn hair of hímiin &
in place

of my dried mouth — there
it is. Whispers

in the blue-black dark after c’álalal

c’álalal reach out
toward my teeth to strum

this wilting instrument. &
once awake, I’m holding

its frame to build
a window back in-

to the world. Had this body

been held after all
these years, I would enter

you to find my frozen self

& touch. Like the gutted animal
we take

in offering. & live.

More Poems by Michael Wasson