Bird Dance

The nice thing about tree rings

is tomorrow they’ll curve

 

out of themselves, stay beneath

blossom or shoot off

 

into each other; they’ll grow

then gray into each other—

 

to delineate one from another

is like pulling at centipede grass:

 

you’ll pull up the entire lawn

or forest, leaving only skinfolds

 

of earthen mounds, carved-out

wrist story of Monster Slayer:

 

in a virgin creek, leg & thigh

of his mother soak

 

up the Sun. Immaculate

pulse of radiance & ripple

 

in her soon rounded

middle, jut out for (f)all—

 

longer than any concentric

season, dark and dry

 

circles reveal a tree split

open, what is found between

 

arm bones—a kind of sheet

music with all whole notes;

 

this is how rings sing

in the early morn, a choral

 

of cicadas sound come, come

as though they had wrists

 

to shake gourds at His coming.


Tacey M. Atsitty is Tsénahabiłnii and born for Ta’neeszahnii. Her work appears or is forthcoming in EPOCH, Poetry, the Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, Poem-a-Day, and other publications. Her book is Rain Scald (University of New Mexico Press, 2018). She holds an MFA from Cornell University and is currently a PhD student at Florida State University. She lives in Tallahassee with her husband.