The Underside of Blue, a Renku
San Juan College Poetry Workshop 2016
Edited by Tacey M. Atsitty
Believe me when I say I was born in this river,
It’s the current I came to touch, every ripple and curve
But when gold came to gleam in the shallow, it weighs in
yellow death—effortlessly—waves and waves
Humanity folded over on itself again today
A mother nature’s made to lay in poison, made to—
I still let the dogs swim in that water—
What would the universe say of such contamination?
What does a victim say to the knife that sliced
across her abdomen, only to try to blame the spoon?
We’re in the blue world, which means heat
of all things. If it seeps into your arms then
it will either sear through your skin
or freeze through, paralyzing your bones.
Something that exists, though under and inside
these illnesses are both passing and eternal
In mother ocean, let them run,
let them return, for a time, for fun
flow, for cool though and fresh again,
within my cellular make up, it deeply resides.
Tacey M. Atsitty, Diné, is Tsénahabiłnii (Sleep Rock People) and born for Ta’neeszahnii (Tangle People) from Cove, AZ. She is a recipient of the Truman Capote Creative Writing Fellowship, the Corson-Browning Poetry Prize, and Morning Star Creative Writing Award. She holds bachelor’s degrees from Brigham Young University and the Institute of American Indian Arts and an MFA in Creative Writing from Cornell University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Kenyon Review Online, Prairie Schooner, Crazyhorse, New Orleans Review, New Poets of the American West Anthology, and other publications. Her first book is Rain Scald (UNM Press, 2017). She lives in New Mexico and teaches at San Juan College.