Michael Wasson

This Dusk in a Mouth Full of Prayer

When you came
                                into my mouth
         opened wide enough

to forget
                         how to swallow

light: this surrendering

                        the body is my skin

tracing starved beauty
                             in climax: us

lying in the dark
                        shadow of another
     lord: give me your dying

words like father
                              or my tongue

disappearing before
                        you: welík’ipckse
so tell me this

when you’ve forgotten
                                 how to open

your lips into my name—

                           father: which is
another way to say shadow:

failed daylight
                           you say: the sky

touching the body: I
                        find myself entering

a night again wounded
                 enough for the snow—

shined with moon
        —to reorder the stars with
our faces: broken

                through with so many

American mouths: like
                         ghosts singing

the very last bright word they

remember:                      amen.

Michael Wasson

Michael Wasson is the author of This American Ghost (YesYes Books, 2017), winner of the Vinyl 45 Chapbook Prize. He is nimíipuu from the Nez Perce Reservation and lives abroad.