I wake long before light slides
into the sandboxes of my eyes.
There is always more to night
than sleeping. I lie still, listening
to the furnace breathing, something
deeply distant clearing its throat
in the driest corner of darkness.
Jets on the concourse, engines
rumbling with discord circling
the REM of sleep. Kachina glass
rattling, a stampede of buffalo
through the marrowed tunnel
of my bones, their hooves caked
with corpuscles of memory;
the smell of splintered wood
pasture manure and smoldering
leaves resisting a slow burn.
When I was a little girl I knew
there was more than sleep
to believe in a new minute.
More than dreams to create
a happiness monument.
More than waiting on a burning
ball of light to bleach the dark
curtains into long shadows
across morning concrete
to be able to see the mountain
and begin all over again.
As I aged I’d lie embracing
the nocturnal until I became a Warrior.
Until I rose from the woven blanket
of safety and carved the skeletal
blade. Until I scalped the hair
from fear and smeared its blood
across my face. Until I became
a war party standing against
a concealed army of disbelief.
Until I danced around a spitting
fire with singed hair and blistered
feet defying the inky separation
of waiting. Until my chant cracked
the curtain rod of resolve above
Until that eastern star, weary from failed
attempts at sleep rose across the water