Sara Ortiz

And the way the changing altitude, distance of body from sea, changed the way the blood flowed, and how the vessels responded when they did; viscosity. . . the sound of blood rushing in the ears, not a distant drum, not the aural equivalent of distant stars, no, not that at all, something else.

Interconnectedness of all things—not an ear, nose, and throat doctor in sight.

And the thought of the butterfly organ in her throat, sometimes wet, sometimes tight, sometimes less-so, always came.

It always came, even when she was quite far away; always when traveling, always at a time that was not so much inconvenient as it was a stringless kite.

The way of it now, storied, or unremarkable, sometimes one or the other, sometimes both, often neither:

She'd aim, shoot, send pictures of poems by aging white women spent many of their days, gone from home, at the pueblo alone, shadows of trees falling on their pages, the words, for the most part, easily enough deleted or forgotten and quite indecipherable on the little screen on which he'd try to make them out.

Another young Native man whom she knew just released from Indian jail, and she'd almost gone too, just the day before;

they'd taken all his paint, and she'd felt somehow to blame, just in her being there and not somewhere else, anywhere else, the usual anywhere being the confines of her mostly dark, softly lit and perfumed room.

The other young man was almost to his ephemeral home in the city, and the ephemerae of him lay on her car's passenger seat: his passport, his cell phone, a single red paint marker the cops had not taken with the words "ON THE RUN" written lengthwise on it, all soon to be returned to the young man. But she thought of him being away from his items. And she thought, always of the two of them, running from the tribal cops, like crazy people, unthinkingly, sure they’d be fast enough, on an early feast day evening in late summer, whenever she looked down and over to see the red stain of memory the paint marker had left on the seat’s fibers.

And she thought of sending him, the other Native man, another poem by Berssenbrugge, but it didn't seem all the way right, because she'd already sent him so many things, and he was already expecting, anticipating, her going to him in the north, knowing she'd never expect him to come to her in the south, only write songs of it, only turn it and him into the stuff of one more last bloody dream; all, all, not because of her love for him. No, not for that, but for her and his, too, lack of food, medicine, & adequate light.

Sara Ortiz
Sara Ortiz

Sara Marie Ortiz is an Acoma Pueblo memoirist, scholar, Indigenous peoples advocate, poet, youth trainer, and aspiring documentarian. A graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts (creative writing; BFA) and Antioch University LA (creative writing - nonfiction; MFA), Ms. Ortiz has also studied law, education, theater, radio, film, and journalism. She currently resides in Portland, Oregon and can be contacted at