headshot of natalie diaz, poet

We move within the snow-chromed world—: Like-animal. Like-deer. An alphabet. Along a street white as lamp light into the winter, walking—: like language, a new text. I touch her with the eyes of my skin.

The way I read any beloved—: from the ramus of the left jaw down to the cuneiform of the right foot. She isn’t so much what she is—: and becomes herself only when added to the space where she isn’t. What is touch—: not the touch not the hand but the white heat it floats through.

I count her my desires, mark her—: hoofprints across the frozen page. Four strokes of dusk. Carbon black, Lamp black, Bone black, Hide glue—: I am the alchemist of ink. She answers me, Quicksilver,

and the noise of her boots upon the snow is the weight of a night-bird bending the meteor-blue branch fruiting white-flames of cotton. Each of her steps, an allograph—: bird, flexed limb, perfect line of vertebrae, the glyph of my pelvis.

When I put my teeth to her wrist, the world goes everywhere white. Not sound but the dizzying nautilus of what is both the palm and the ear. I invented her hand in this texture—: a grapheme.

In me, a feeling—: white blossom with a red-sided icosahedron inside the warm car of a gold train vibrating its way to a dimmed station in my chest—: twenty seats of desire, and I am sitting in each one.

I burn on the silver sparks of her breath moving out of her body. The miracle, no. The power and the glory of her—: she breathes. Out—: Out—: twenty red seats of desire, I break every one. A series of waves against the hammer the anvil—: a vibration of light I can hold with my mouth.