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.