The Next Sky

A poem by Sherwin Bitsui.

 

Looking in

from the next world,

eyes still coated

with coal dust—

we seal black the past.

 

A dust storm’s bellow

cracks open thoughts

of crow beaks

pinned to smog,

bridging a mesa’s edge

to its midnight shadow.

 

Here, we notice

how hunger-bellied drought

skeletons the clouds,

then splinters beneath

a flint blade’s

jagged spike.

 

And there, under

the next sky: ghost hands

unlocking doors wiped clear

of the names of seasons

skinned from tire treads.


Originally from White Cone, Arizona, on the Navajo Reservation, Sherwin Bitsui is the author of three collections of poetry, Dissolve (Copper Canyon, 2018), Flood Song (Copper Canyon) and Shapeshift (University of Arizona Press). He is Diné of the Todí­ch’ii’nii (Bitter Water Clan), born for the Tlizí­laaní­ (Many Goats Clan) and holds an A.F.A. from the Institute of American Indian Arts Creative Writing Program and a B.A. from University of Arizona in Tucson. His recent honors include a 2011 Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship and a 2011 Native Arts & Culture Foundation Arts Fellowship. He is also the recipient of 2010 PEN Open Book Award, an American Book Award, and a Whiting Writers Award.

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