A Breeze Swept Through

the first born of dawn woman

slid out amid crimson fluid streaked with stratus clouds

her body glistening August sunset pin

light steam rising from her like rain on warm rocks

She came when the desert day cooled

and dusk began to move in

in that intricate changing of time

she gasped and it flows from her now

with every breath     with every breath

she travels now

sharing scarlet sunsets

named for wild desert flowers

her smile a blessing song.

And, in mid-november

early morning darkness

after days of waiting pain

the second one cried             wailing

sucking first earth breath

separating the heavy fog

she cried and kicked            tiny brown limbs

fierce movements as outside

the mist lifted as

the sun is born again.

(East of Acoma, a sandstone boulder

split in two—a sharp, clean crack.)

She is born of damp mist and early sun.

She is born again      woman of dawn.

She is born knowing the warm smoothness of rock.

She is born knowing her own morning strength.

~ Luci Tapahonso





by Joy Harjo


a woman can’t survive

by her breath



she must know

the voices of the mountains

she must recognize

the foreverness of blue sky

she must flow

with the elusive bodies

of night wind women

who will take her

into her own self


look at me

i am not a separate woman


i am a continuance

of blue sky


i am the throat

of the sandia mountains

a night wind woman

who burn

with every breath she takes