An Early Late Night

Iris burns blue around 2 a.m.,

         a bowl of melted copper

            spills onto

                          white, lined paper.

History is not linear,          but skipping.

Sweet child,

         brewed from roots gnarled and damaged,

   cupped in a hollow where our hearts had been,

                            a light begins to change…

                                                       pulsing slowly, opaque,

                                                       we learn to listen.

                            I’ve heard this one before.

Crowned villain dusts our land,

       expert mutation of lung

               returns over and over.

         Some say we had it coming,

         burial mounds suggest it never left.


         layered translucent in spirit,

                             we finally understood,

                             witnessed the tapestry of sutures.

Soul inserts


                    bound stone

         in lack of oxygen.

Sleep less and

         somehow the day keeps repeating        skipping        skipping

                       I think I’ve heard this one before.

Sweet child,

         your prayer is a grain of sun in our palms

                                      illuminating us whole.

Not so long ago

         we thought the path just uneven.

Only to look and find

                 we have become overgrown,

         trail uncertain

                                       cairns                    blending with the horizon.


         when the only sound is sleeping breath,

         there is comfort in myriad languages,

                   confessing every detail

                         etched into my heart—

                         documenting a beauty of infinite.

Pulse re-tuned could guide the light,

          work unbound,         translated

                    by oil        water        sound        by skin        muscle        ink.

Someday children will remember,

           path interrupted without consent.

The elders inside them,

                                         echo those before,

         pick lessons clean for survival,

         blossom in cartilage and

                          lengthen tendrils deep.

In time,

           we will break new ground,

           place stones higher for the next generation to find.

Beneath each step                   a seed,

                                                                   opening behind them.

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Jamie Natonabah

Jamie Natonabah is Diné from Fort Defiance, AZ. She navigates this life with her partner, and their daughter. Jamie is a poet with dreams of fiction, while formerly separate, a shift of light has begun to change that. Here’s to ink and paper, clink!