Poetry

Tacey M. Atsitty – Anasazi

“How can we die when we’re already
prone to leaving the table mid-meal
like Ancient Ones gone to breathe
elsewhere.”

– Tacey M. Atsitty

Anasazi is a Navajo word that refers to the ancestral people who used to inhabit the area of the southwestern United States around what is now the Four Corner’s region. There is an element of controversy or sensitivity around the term which means ‘ancient enemy’, and it has since been updated to ‘Ancestral Puebloans’. Tacey M. Atsitty, who traces her lineage through four different American tribes, talks about leaving, going, dying, skipping and rushing off in this poem that evokes the simultaneous absence and presence of ancestry, of unplanned, hurried, enforced departures and of what remains and endures.


Anasazi

How can we die when we’re already
prone to leaving the table mid-meal
like Ancient Ones gone to breathe
elsewhere. Salt sits still, but pepper’s gone
rolled off in a rush. We’ve practiced dying
for a long time: when we skip dance or town,
when we chew. We’ve rounded out
like dining room walls in a canyon, eaten
through by wind—Sorry we rushed off;
the food wasn’t ours. Sorry the grease sits
white on our plates, and the jam that didn’t set—
use it as syrup to cover every theory of us.

Tacey M. Atsitty
From: Rain Scald

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