Emily Bjustrom

After Joy Harjo

Remember the sky you were born under-
The light and how it shadowed
Your mother’s face

How she howled and screeched-
The two of you were Human then

Remember your feet
How they carried you
Up mountains and trees

You clung to them
Remember the breeze
How it kissed you
And blessed you with its touch

You knew then what animal you were

Noon & Sunset

Emily Bjustrom

When I was a toothy girl,
Stumbling through the bosque,
I found a white cross among the reeds.

It was someone’s drowned brother.

I am pulled into the silt.

I remember this and want to smoke
a cigarette
like I did with my sister on the beach
of the river while it was wide and shallow.

But I won’t. I will love carefully,
only bum cigarettes when I am three drinks deep and happy,

because I’m alive on someone’s back porch.
Alive in someone’s hands and mouth.
Safe with the knowledge
that in the morning I will spit the opulent guilt into the sink
and breathe away the swill.


Emily Bjustrom

After Natalie Diaz

While she sleeps, I paint
the windows shut.
To trap the cold wet light of evening.

After a summer thunderstorm,

I am pacing and strange.
My bones- a girl.
Soft and still,
as the air sneaks
to wake her.

She is my spine.
The hollow points in me
The cave in my belly

I paint the spaces between
the clouds and the backs of my knees

Dust gathers on the sill
scent of passing rain- starched cotton.

An empty hand unfurls.

Reawaken & Stay

Emily Bjustrom

At Dawn I could be anywhere:
on the edge of my desk,
talking about
what it means to be a Mountain.

I’ve sat the Dawn on Mountains and Beaches.
Alone in a New Light,
I too am Aflame,
burning paper Bridges.

Between people
bridges connect as much as they separate.

When you make a promise you should keep it.
I am nothing without my word.

The Dawn is a cold fire,
the Dawn is a Promise,
unshakable in its certainty.

This moment
like everyone before it
sparks and catches.