What Danger We Court


Luci Tapahonso

For Marie

Sister, sister,
what danger we court
without even knowing it.
It's as simple as meeting a handsome man for lunch at midnight.

Last Friday night
at the only stop sign for miles around,
your pickup was hit from behind.
That noise of shattering glass behind your head,
whirl of lights and metal as two cars hit your pickup -
that silent frenzy by tons of metal spinning you
echos the desert left voiceless.

Sister, sister,
what promises they must be for you
when you walk the edges of cliffs -
sheer drops like 400 feet -
vacuums of nothing we know here.
You turn and step out of the crushed car dazed
and walk to help small crying children from another car
and you come home, sister,

your breath intact,
heart pounding,
and the night is still the same.
Your children cry and cry to see you.
Walking and speaking gently.
your voice gathers them in.
what danger we court.
It is the thin border of a miracle, sister, that you live.
The desert surrounding your house is witness
to the danger we court and
sister, we have so much faith.

From Sáanii Dahataal The Women Are Singing by Luci Tapahonso, University of Arizona Press.
© 1993 Luci Tapahonso

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