Arcing Towards the Sun

Wandering through these stores, their strange, wasted
version of us everywhere, I can see how you were once a dancer,
like my mother, how you both still are, your long brown hands arcing
towards the sun. And for him. Whoever he was. And for the days you saw
in a vision once, now faded and gone, like a black and white photograph
you might’ve picked up as a girl, lost somewhere in the middle
of the dusty city you call now home.

Cold and Tired Wind

We moved quickly through the rain soaked streets, and I could feel
your long dark fingers on the back of my seat, in a stranger’s car. Those hands
on the small of my back. Once, the heat of you and me reduced
to a few hours in this large, wet city.

We stopped in the street by the market, eating falafel with the other poet,
and you pulled a picture of your dark eyed child out of the pocket of your worn
out jeans, a boy who is now living as you did, without.

When it was time for you to catch a ferry I ran with you, down streets,
past a man begging, a large old drum between his legs, his eyes lighting up at us,
our white heat, asking you what you could possibly be doing with me.

We laughed and I asked you to wait, come back;
it was only to hand you my name in red, and you took it,
the years before stretching in the space between your hand and mine,
our fingers together like angry, delicate flowers
growing in a garden that waits in a secret cave somewhere underground,
where there is just enough wind and sun for a thousand green shoots to grow
and move in the cold and tired wind, a wind now completely gone.

“Arcing Towards the Sun” is about the kinship I felt through two really strong Native women – both dancers, both with lifetimes of sadnesses. “Cold and Tired Wind,” is about one of the first men I loved, when he was only a young man. He’s gone now. He and I had a very turbulent, though deep connection. The pieces aren’t 100% autobiographical, in fact, most of my work is 80% imaginative, but what I described above is where they began. And the collection they come from is honestly, probably the most autobiographical thing I’ve written. Dark, feminine, and all about the kinship of Native people in different points of their lives.

About the Author

Erika T. Wurth’s published works include a novel, Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend and a collection of poetry, Indian Trains. Her collection of short stories, Buckskin Cocaine and her collection of poetry, A Thousand Horses Out to Sea are both forthcoming. A writer of both fiction and poetry, she teaches creative writing at Western Illinois University and has been a guest writer at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals. She is represented by Peter Steinberg. She is Apache/Chickasaw/Cherokee and was raised outside of Denver.

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