call it fear


Call It Fear
Joy Harjo

There is this edge where shadows
and bones of some of us walk
Talk backwards. There is this edge
call it an ocean of fear of the dark. Or
name it with other songs. Under our ribs
our hearts are bloody stars. Shine on
shine on, and horses in their galloping flight
strike the curve of ribs.
and breathe back sharply. Breathe
There is this edge within me
I saw it once
an August Sunday morning when the heat hadn’t
left this earth. And Goodluck
sat sleeping next to me in the truck.
We had never broken through the edge of the
singing at four a.m.
We had only wanted to talk, to hear
any other voice to stay alive with.
And there was this edge—
not the drop of sandy rock cliff
bones of volcanic earth into
Not that,
but a string of shadow horses kicking
and pulling me out of my belly,
not into the Rio Grande but into the music

barely coming through
Sunday church singing
from the radio. Battery worn-down but the voices
talking backwards.

Photo by Monty Allen on Unsplash