Bodies Lit

I hang a photo
to the moon

Before   there was
the clack of flash   the plastic camera

your skin
brown as dying pines filled
with nothing inside them
the cockleburs
and pitch
stuck to your bootlaces

a boy
sitting next to you

your temples lining your face

And uncle said once
we scrape brain onto the hide
to cure

wáaqo’ kuum wéye

But the white moon keeps
your polaroid
from developing

Just some holey ghost
his image   his son


Mom kisses my forehead

blows out
both candles behind my eyes

I’m still awake
             moonlight dripping
from the ceiling

When I sleep
I’ll be
dead   but warm


Somewhere in this
blacked out light

my brother and I are
learning how

to cry all over again

My mother   a pile of ash
waiting to catch fire

we breathe
on her skin
             and we’re


Michael Wasson is nimíipuu from the Nez Perce Reservation and lives in Sato-machi, Japan. His recent poems will appear in Waxwing, Poetry Kanto, and Red Ink International.