Wednesday Jun 19

Bearheart B William b: william bearhart is a direct descendent of the St Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin, a graduate from the Lo Rez MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, and currently works as a poker dealer in a small Wisconsin casino when not writing or editing. His work can be found in Boston ReviewPrairie Schooner, and Tupelo Quarterly among others.

There was water here before the drought came
Before the universe sprawled out on the ground, grew Milky Way horns
Before bingo daubers illuminated the senior centers
    and kids lip bruised crescent moons that unspooled on each other’s necks
Before you were a particular color of red, Brother
Before you were a peculiar kind of jaguar,
            a lynx, a black panther with luminous metal antlers
Perhaps you had an orange belly, as in, a robin mocking his father
There was water here before the drought came
Before bodies held 2x4s in parking lots of Perkins
            which held a body on the ground
Before a young man’s body full of stars
            had fallen deep into the earth
Deep between the seats of two men
                                    who lured him deep into their truck one night after work
Perhaps I cut a piece of your tail to make a bracelet
            as in, your home has dried up and cracked open
            as in, your copper skeleton is where a lake should be
    as in, out of fish jump lakes
out of our lips fall beds of rice
There was water here before the drought came

Because I Don’t Have Much But Canoe
A green crescent moon, know I put it there for you.
Watermelon cleaned of nectar red flesh,
white seed stars spit into night.
I have so many gifts, so many ways to convince you to stay—
I won’t get sick again—
I give you constellations.
I give you split moon,
white belly sewn:
a canoe
to drift along your lips,
mouth open crest of valley,
tongue of valley floor,
sweet water flood,
o, god
Now gather five fingers and weave into fingers,
a hand-made net, seed full night.
Let’s harvest and plant, sew into earth,
belly full of lightning bugs,
feel them grow into lightning bolts.