Don’t put me in that lonely spot
next to aunts and cousins who
on holidays, thought I had a lot of nerve;
their eternal conversation will bore the fuck
out of me and condemn my soul to a kind of
hell they couldn’t when I was
the wild girl shouting words that were on fire.
Don’t put pennies on my eyes.
I want to see who has the nerve to stare down
like storefront windows tied with black ribbons
and dressed for a sympathetic wedding.
Don’t toll the bells; vengeance has no music
and I want to hear their guilt
sing like a millstone of crow hearts.
Don’t use scissors to shred him from my wishes—
he touched the bad-boy nerve with everyone,
my half-breed, sloe-eyed cousins wanted to steal him,
the aunts caught their breath, the cowboy uncles said “punk”—
make their avarice cymbal his name
so their ears gnash thorns from the rose garnish
they imagined would perfume this feast.
Don’t give me dead to them who suddenly claim me
or let that dead place take my bones.
Ash my poems into sheets of lye they
will have to drink and drink and drink.
Give my dust to the silver moonlight and the bones
of my songs to the broken eagle who cocked his head
and tuned every nerve to words he didn’t understand.
from the collection “One Coyote Winter”