Native Poet Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo
September 6, 2022

Submission by Joy Harjo.

She has served three terms as the United States Poet Laureate. She is the author of the memoir “Poet Warrior.”

Sundown Walks to the Edge of the Story

In the lands of forgotten memories,

I hear a woman singing.

A dog runs in circles, barking.

Then children laugh as they run through,

The sashes of one girl’s dress are dragging

On the ground from playing horse.

In this story is a woman with a husband she adores.

He is the color of warm brown earth, tall,

With kind eyes that shine with love for her.

When he loves, it is with every part of his body,

From his planted feet to his head good with numbers.

When she first lay down with him, their love made roots

That dove into the ground, caressed the stones.

These roots find water where water is needed.

Those nights of early love, he spoke to her when she was sleeping.

His words were the vision of an architect of dreams.

He told her how he would treasure her, how they would walk

Through this life to the next with each other, no matter

The tests and disappointments that befall a human

On this earthly road.

Those words blossomed into flowers, waters, and sunrises.

She wears each day as a river pearl in a necklace. Though the pearls

Darken with age, they never let up their glow.

Time is nothing in those lands.

It has been years.

They lay down together to sleep, in their grown old bones,

Their weathered skins.

She is a woman made of words.

He is a man now impatient with words.

They hold hands in the dark and fall asleep together.

I find them, as sundown walks to the edge of the story

To wait for sunrise. I find them in a song about a woman

Weeping with joy, about a man whose love for her

Does not need words but contains every color

That love has ever worn.