I wanted to fly, to be brilliant and brave.
So I drank the full moon instead,
and all the stars around it,
In the black, black and black of the sky.
In went the shimmering winds,
And the scatter of white plumeria.
I swallowed it down, the whole of it,
even the neighbor’s nuisance dog.
I was desperate and sad with all that yearning
I couldn’t stop it, not even there.
I took it all in, every leaf, sigh and shiver.
There was nothing that could be done
For all that ragged churning.
It went down so easy, all of it,
I started thinking I wanted more.
But not even this had stopped the punch
Where the heart of my heart was leaking.
I was back where I started, at the end of it.
The moon laughed from the sky with the stars.
The winds scattered the white-faced plumeria,
And the neighbor’s dog barked even more.
I still wanted a drink so bad.
All my words gathered to meet me,
What I’d thought or done
Made a place for me by the water.
It was the longest night of the world.
For Pam Uschuk
c Joy Harjo June 21, 2005 Honolulu