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Toward the Amaranth Gates of War or Love

Tonight the city is glimmered.

What’s left of an August monsoon

is heat and wet. Beyond the open window,

the streetlamp is a honey-skirted hive I could split

with my hand, my palm a pool of light.

On the television screen, bombs like silvery bells

toll above blurred horizon—

All I know of war is win.

What is a wall if not a thing to be pressed against?

What is a bedroom if not an epicenter

of pillage? And what can I do with a hundred houses

but abandon them as spent shells of desire?

The buzz of blue burning ozone molecules—

a hypothalamus of cavalry trumpets—

call me to something—you,

so willing to be crushed. I feel like I might die.

I lean over, kiss you sitting on the sofa

and pretend we are lying there

stretched across that debris-dazzled desert—

the only affliction is your mouth,

the single ache is that I cannot crawl inside you—

the explosions are for us.

The war is nothing more

than a reminder to go to Mass.

The tolling, your sighing.

The bombs, a carnival of bodies, touch,

all the things we want to taste—

an apple wedge soaked in vinegar,

a blood orange swelling like a breast—

those beggars of teeth.

I want you like that—enough to gnash you

into a silence made from pieces of silver.

Outside, cars rush the slick streets.

My mouth is on your thigh—

I would die to tear just this piece of you away,

to empty your bright dress onto the floor,

as the bombs’ long, shadowy legs,

march me toward the amaranth gates of the city.

from When My Brother Was an AztecFind it in the library

Copyright © 2012 Natalie Diaz
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.

Published in Natalie Diaz Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.