Songs From the House of Death, or How To Make It Through to the End of a Relationship

Harjo, Joy


From the house of death there is rain. From rain is flood and flowers. And flowers emerge through the ruins of those who left behind stores of corn and dishes, turquoise and bruises from the passion of fierce love. 2. I run my tongue over the skeleton jutting from my jaw. I taste the grit of heartbreak. 3 The procession of spirits who walk out of their bodies is ongoing. Just as the procession of those who have loved us will go about their business of making a new house with someone else who smells like the dust of a strange country. 4 The weight of rain is unbearable to the sky eventually. Just as desire will burn a hole through the sky and fall to earth. 5 I was surprised by the sweet embrace of the perfume of desert flowers after the rain though after all these seasons I shouldn’t be surprised. 6. All cities will be built and then destroyed. We built too near the house of the gods of lightning, too close to the edge of a century. What could I expect, my bittersweet. 7. Even death who is the chief of everything on this earth (all undertakings, all matters of human form) will wash his hands, stop to rest under the cottonwood before taking you from me on the back of his horse. 8. Nothing I can sing will bring you back.

Not the songs of a hundred horses running until they become wind Not the personal song of the rain who makes love to the earth. 9

I will never forget you. Your nakedness haunts me in the dawn when I can not distinguish your flushed brown skin from the burning horizon, or my hands. The smell of chaos lingers in the clothes you left behind. I hold you there.

Copyright World Poetry, Incorporated May/Jun 1999

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved

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