Other Wind
30 / July30 / July30 / July

Two Harjo Poems

These two are by Joy Harjo, from her collection called In Mad Love and War. She was one of the three writers I used for my thesis in college on the Woman Warrior. I took a stroll back through some of her poems tonight, and these caught me in particular:

Song For the Deer and Myself to Return On

This morning when I looked out the roof window
before dawn and a few stars were still caught
in the fragile weft of ebony night
I was overwhelmed. I sang the song Louis taught me:
a song to call the deer in Creek, when hunting,
and I am certainly hunting something as magic as deer
in this city far from the hammock of my mother’s belly.
It works, of course, and deer came into this room
and wondered at finding themselves
in a house near downtown Denver.
Now the deer and I are trying to figure out a song
to get them back, to get all of us back,
because if it works I’m going with them.
And it’s too early to call Louis
and nearly too late to go home.

(For Louis Oliver)


Say I chew desire and water is an explosion
of sugar wings in my mouth.

Say it tastes of you.

Say I could drown because you left
for the time it takes a blackbird to understand
a pine tree.

Say we enter the pine woods at dawn.

We never slept and the only opium we smoked
was what became of our mingled breath.

Say the stars have never learned
to say good-bye. (One is a jewel
of blue magic in your perfect ear.)

Say all of this is true and more

than there are blackbirds
in a heaven of blackbirds.