Logging Trail Angel

Marwin Begaye (Diné), Riders of the Storm II, lithograph, 15 x 22 in / Courtesy of the artist (@m.begaye2015)
Marwin Begaye (Diné), Riders of the Storm II, lithograph, 15 x 22 in / Courtesy of the artist (@m.begaye2015)

That day my guardian angel was cast out,
she responded, “Fine, your heaven is too bougie,
and your Hell is too plain!”

Then she packed up her one washcloth, one bath towel,
and my best button-up shirt.

Ever since, we tried every doorknob and followed every mouse trail
to get out of this Promised land. 

We’ve been living off the potholes of the back roads.

Along a logging trail, her washcloth was attacked by a crow 
because it looked like an owl when it got wet.

The towel worn down to a warm breath on my skin
when I dried off. It melted away in the last rain. 

My button-up shirt, it’s been so long, 
I think that was a product of my imagination. 

But it’s getting better 
I can finally hear the trumpet, in the East, others talk about.
Sunlight never catches up to us.

We can room and board with the shadows
and not on the pine needles gathered on the steeple.

It’s all getting even now: 
Shadow vs. Light 
Black Hat vs. White Hat
Number Six vs. Number Seven
Snake vs. Dove
Oil vs. Water
Fork vs. Spoon

And we are even back to trying doorknobs.
At midnight, hear us knocking three times? 

Sy Hoahwah is Yappituka Comanche/Southern Arapaho. He is the author of the poetry collections  Night Cradle and Velroy and the Madischie Mafia. Hoahwah’s poetry has also appeared in the Florida Review, Indiana Review, and Shenandoah. He is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship.

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