Natalie Diaz

cantfindit

Natalie Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2012. She is 2018 MacArthur Foundation Fellow, a Lannan Literary Fellow and a Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellow. She was awarded a Bread Loaf Fellowship, the Holmes National Poetry Prize, a Hodder Fellowship, and a PEN/Civitella Ranieri Foundation Residency, as well as being awarded a US Artists Ford Fellowship. Diaz teaches at the Arizona State University Creative Writing MFA program. Source

From the Desire Field

I don’t call it sleep anymore.

I’ll risk losing something new instead—

 

like you lost your rosen moon, shook it loose.

 

But sometimes when I get my horns in a thing—

a wonder, a grief or a line of her—it is a sticky and ruined

fruit to unfasten from,

 

despite my trembling.

 

Let me call my anxiety, desire, then.

Let me call it, a garden.

 

Maybe this is what Lorca meant

when he said, verde que te quiero verde

 

because when the shade of night comes,

I am a field of it, of any worry ready to flower in my chest.

 

My mind in the dark is una bestia, unfocused,

hot. And if not yoked to exhaustion

 

beneath the hip and plow of my lover,

then I am another night wandering the desire field—

 

bewildered in its low green glow,

 

belling the meadow between midnight and morning.

Insomnia is like Spring that way—surprising

and many petaled,

 

the kick and leap of gold grasshoppers at my brow.

 

I am struck in the witched hours of want—

 

I want her green life. Her inside me

in a green hour I can’t stop.

Green vein in her throat green wing in my mouth

 

green thorn in my eye. I want her like a river goes, bending.

Green moving green, moving.

 

Fast as that, this is how it happens—

soy una sonámbula.

 

And even though you said today you felt better,

and it is so late in this poem, is it okay to be clear,

to say, I don’t feel good,

 

to ask you to tell me a story

about the sweet grass you planted—and tell it again

or again—

 

until I can smell its sweet smoke,

leave this thrashed field, and be smooth.

Published:

2017

Length:

Regular

Literary Movements:

Contemporary

Anthology Years:

Themes:

Bilingual

LGBTQ+ Experience

Love & Relationships

Literary Devices:

Allusion

an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference

Interrupted Clause

a word group (a statement, question, or exclamation) that interrupts the flow of a sentence and is usually set off by commas, dashes, or parentheses

Metaphor

a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic

Simile

a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”