National Poetry Month Day 16: Byron Aspaas


Byron F. Aspaas creates stories using images of landscape, which are etched upon white space with words of experience. Aspaas, who is Diné, has earned his BFA and MFA in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts. His ambition is to incorporate writing towards teaching and becoming a storyteller by influencing readers along this literary journey. His work is scattered throughout journals and anthologies; among them are RedInk, Yellow Medicine Review, 200 New Mexico Poems, Weber: The Contemporary West, As/Us: A Space for Women of the World, Semicolon, The Denver Quarterly, International Writing Program Collections, and The Rumpus. He is Red Running into the Water; born for the Bitter Water People. He resides with his partner, Seth Browder, his three cats, and four puppies in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he is working on his memoir.


Tuesday Night’s Creation of Bear Woman


He lies before her, ratty-tail extended, sharp-nose pointing to sky. She sits above, jagged knife in hand, slicing bik’os, the pharynx, from throat to larynx, splitting seams—stitch by stitch by stitch. She trails along dotted-lines inside her head, down the esophagus, across the trachea—a surgeon with rusted knife—she divides. Fingers stained red, she flicks giblets onto a desert table pooled warm. He lies quietly, quivering—beat, pulse, stop.

She lies below him, body beached on sandy floor, she becomes homemade—a mermaid stitched by loosened thread. He pulls arms, dislocating shoulders and unhooks feet from ankles; he loosens head from neck from spine. She lies below him, one eye detached, spying entrails laced from waist to torso. Long hair carded black—woven strands lacing body to ground. She watches mangled tail sweep dirt floors, conducting waves of dust before disjointed members. Stretched body lay tinseled and strung through pinon trees—presents scattered, unwrapped, undone.

Tonight, on their wedding night, the couple will dismember one another once more once again. They will dislocate themselves three times more, never harming nose nor tail—vital organs of their body. S/he will come back, s/he will come back undead, both will look upon each deserted eye and seduce themselves in that trickster way and consecrate unrequitedly.

Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →