Sunday Jun 23

DriskillQwo-Li Qwo-Li Driskill is a Cherokee (non-citizen) Two-Spirit/Queer activist, writer, and performer. S/he is the author of Walking with Ghosts: Poems and the co-editor of the collections Queer Indigenous Studies: Critical Interventions in Theory, Politics, and Literature and Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Two-Spirit Literature, both published by University of Arizona. Qwo-Li's work has appeared in several publications, including Shenandoah, Many Mountains Moving, La Bloga, and Nakum. S/he is currently living in Tonkawa and Towakoni Territories where s/he is an assistant professor at Texas A&M University.

Praise Song to Stone:
For My Father

Praise sternum
cracked like mica after
truck's impact
Praise teeth in
lower jaw sheared clean as
marble rushing
down his throat
Praise ghosts watching from
behind granite graves across
the street at the Rosebud Cemetery
Praise body arched like
sandstone illuminated by
headlights as it flashes through air
before landing on the other side
Praise dust that surges
as he hits earth
scatters like crows and disappears
quick as the car's driver
into the pre-dawn
Praise the crack of vertebrae as it slips
like a fault line
the schism of spine that cleaves
like feldspar
Flecks of shale that glint like witness
embedded in his side
Praise the cleavage of ribs
jagged as a saw
as they pierce through lung tissue
Praise the lungs
Praise the ghost who leans over his
body gentle as breeze through muslin curtain
shouts through gurgle of jugular Go away. This graveyard is full.
Praise the dead
Praise blood
slow as lava
beating from skull
onto the road's shoulder
Praise gravel
warm and full as
a mosquito
Praise the blood
Praise the quartz crystal
in the man's cell phone
who stopped his car
dialed 9-1-1
covered my father with a blanket
Praise the diamond
the size of a tear
on the wedding band of
the doctor who declared
He might live
even after the machines
confessed there was no brain activity
Praise mercy
Praise the heart of red jasper
that stopped beating
and beat again
that stopped beating
and beat again
inside the helicopter
as it buzzed over the valley
Praise diamond edge
of the scalpel as it
slices skin like silk
to fit bone back inside
right arm
Praise the bone
Praise the arm
Praise the ghosts of children
who played hopscotch
on the beige tiles of intensive care room
who laughed because of impossibility
And praise the living
Praise the living
Praise the living
This marvel of bone
revelation of marrow
awe of skin that knits
itself back together

Praise this miracle of the quick and the dead