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Tell me again that my kisses are magic,
that my mouth unfolds longing like a landslide.
Loneliness spills over my lips each time you beg:
sing for me. Your unquenchable thirst devours

each syllable. Tell me again how you wanted to paint
the way you see me because I know all the words
to the first song you made love to in the back seat
of a red car, windows down overlooking the desert at sunset.

Tell me you didn’t forget to pay those parking tickets,
and to take your paintbrush out of the water, or
the way we fit together like puzzle pieces and
that once we slow danced, cheek-to-cheek

in the middle of the street, then hop-scotched
on the dotted lines all the way back to our childhoods
playing hide-and-seek. You told me once you didn’t
want to be left behind. Now you’re always leaving

the door open. I want to nail shut all possibilities because
the sun is already setting. The sky is red, and we’re driving the car
on a road to nowhere through the desert. The sand is so hot it burns.
Tell me you’ll quit hiding—and seek. See, the car is already melting;

you left your paintbrush in the water, and we’re dissolving
into red, the oils of our skin, our memories blur—
how do you see me? You painted a desert, red, and the car

falling apart. Tell me we dreamt it all and
when I open my eyes to see—I won’t remember. You
tell me the next time I open my mouth to sing
the magic of it all will make me disappear.



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.
Current Issue
10 Jan 2022

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