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The last time I drove the highway, there were pieces of a bridge on trucks I
passed. Looking in the rear-view mirror, I wished I knew what it meant to be
connected.

I heard once, a rupture chooses who it wants to break.

The 1st time I taught poetry, the kids kicked a dead crow outside. I ran outside to
stop and asked: Why would you do that? They said, pain demands to be felt.

All my exes live in story. The last man I dated texted me: Love is verbing. Our
existence is verbing.

He became obsessed with horses, kept his camera eyes rolling like all
life’s answers were hidden in the muscles of a horse’s shudder.

I teach the etymology of colonized. Colon—body politic, a snake swallowing
everything.

Even the flies circling our table that day knew what I was too afraid to
admit. Our love was rotting.

When he broke up with me he wanted to build a spaceship. He figured out how to
travel the time he blames for everything.

In Oregon there’s a city named Echo. Every year, I drive by it, shouting: What are
you so afraid of? I keep hoping one day I’ll hear myself answer.

I wonder if every man I ever loved eventually goes mad?

One opens his mouth and pulls out rose petals thinking he'll find what started all
this blooming. Another paints his organs outside of his body, brush-strokes his
heart into beating again and again, before cocking his gun. Reload.

The next time I saw him, he was writing a battle on his forearm, asked me if I
knew about surrender. Pop pop pop bullets flying out of his arteries onto his
hand. I walked away listening to him shoot imaginary bullets at the back of my
head.



Tanaya Winder is an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and performance poet from the Southern Ute, Duckwater Shoshone, and Pyramid Lake Paiute Nations.  She graduated from Stanford University, and her first book, Words Like Love, was published in 2015.  Tanaya founded Dream Warriors, an Indigenous artist management company.
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17 Jun 2024

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By: Ana Hurtado
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