Excerpt from Dissolve

A lake reflecting moonlight at night

A bottom-lit sea ponders the lake’s questions,
their secret conversations 
thatch howls to whimpers exhaled 
from an isthmus of drowned wolves. 

Its glossary’s cataclysms 
smoothed over the hatchet 
tucked into a sheath of starlight 
locates fractures potted in cisterns of smog. 

The stitching then unthreads 
to muzzled worms pulsing 
where an arsonist begins to lather heat over his neck. 

Backlit by a caravan of wailing fathers 
he silences their smeared faces 
while kneeling in an arbor of mesh and steel. 

Nowhere streams in blips and beeps under them. 

Sherwin Bitsui (Diné) is the author of Flood Song (Copper Canyon Press) and Shapeshift (University of Arizona Press). He is of the Bįį’bítóó’nii’ Tódi’chii’nii clan and is born for the Tlizilłani’ clan. He is from White Cone, Arizona, on the Navajo Reservation. His honors include the 2011 Lannan Literary Fellowship, a Native Arts & Culture Foundation Fellowship for Literature, a PEN Open Book Award, an American Book Award, and a Whiting Writers Award. Bitsui lives in Missoula, Montana, and teaches for the MFA writing programs of the University of Montana and the Institute of American Indian Arts.