Michael Wasson

T H Y   G I F T S,  F O R   W H I C H   [ I   A M ]   A B O U T   T O   [ D E V O U R ]

Bless me, dearest Father, for the sin
                                                                      I was

born with—how I forget
                                                your face, once

I see your flesh-
                                                tinted photograph:

I am your ghost, a blessing

for the damned—a way out
                                         of your life as soon as

the earth opens up

its mouth to let you
                                in. & inside, to carve this

haunt with brighter air
                                                       you are still

breathing—to stay
                                        this alive: so faint

against the wall
                                                               I shiver

in the warmest of rooms.

I appear as a single finger-
                                         print on the lips

of a god betrayed, to smear away
                               what shame I entered

into you those years
               gone. Stare at me like a house

burning in lavender, Father.
                                       Give me your voice

please—for it is

the only gospel I ever had. & never once 

                                              As if this body-

shot & hungered sky was left starred

with countless eyes.


Michael Wasson is the author of Swallowed Light (Copper Canyon Press, 2021). A 2019 Ruth Lilly & Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellow and a 2018 NACF National Artist Fellow in Literature, he is from the Nez Perce Reservation in Idaho.




Crisosto Apache

41. Cardiac

But he knew the cause of his malady. —R.
Akutagawa, 41. Sickness

—caution in starting a chainsaw

the buzzing vigor generates an onset
and eases the space between my ears,
as the massive jolt from the metallic
melodic rigor rages from the chainsaw

what my supposing father does not know
is, pulling on the trigger can cause a negative
interaction with his pacemaker

the space between my ears bow upward,
plumping my cheeks and creasing crows
feet, almost in a hopeful snicker

a tiny thought in my head voices its concern,
warns my supposing father, leaving me with
this dismal decision to notify, but contrary
to my supposing father’s heart condition

—do I dare warn him not to cut wood?
                            —or should he die trying?


50. confined

But to believe in a God, — to believe in a God’s love,
that was impossible.
—R. Akutagawa, 50. Captive

many of them went astray, as whispers away from faith
many of them went astray, from faith as a whisper, away

in the exhaust of these whispers, I become the air of arid fall
as it torments my hands of some presence, by some torment
                                                                                                       — God?

here, pacing inside my small square room, in falls’ remains
I persist this empty pace, but the room is small and arid inside

—inside, I am small, and I believe the pace of this arid room
Inside, I astray from the belief of fall whispers and small rooms

belief in them fails in the small space of this whisper
yet, in this whisper they fail and may fall in exhaust
I have paced the floor for so long, I have gotten better at it

but the arid belief in God fails the small spaces of these rooms
but mostly arid whispers pace the presence of small beliefs

—to believe in God, is to believe these small beliefs exists


51. Conquest

In this semi-darkness day to day he lived. —R,
Akutagawa, 51. Defeat

—in this determining dark,
inside my condensing state of mind, there is much clarity to consider,
inside my conflicting state of mind, there is much conjecture to clarify

as the sordid lump of flesh drapes over a yellow armchair
I presume the defeat, the control of place, the control of people
I presume the manifest which continues to exist, and I resist
I challenge daily the destiny, which is this darkest hour of being
My state of becoming is this dark American hour

an opinion like all options leave nothing to clarify, even after
a conclusion formed based on incomplete information
by use of force, or by use of this state of mind, this darkness
manifests a destiny left in a gripping palm and blank conjecture

nothing is determined, nothing determines the outcome without
a belief to consider a consideration leaving no belief, and yet
outside the wind blows the dry leaves about
                                                            —the day moves on without me


Crisosto Apache, originally from Mescalero, New Mexico (US), on the Mescalero Apache Reservation. He is Mescalero Apache, Chiricahua Apache, and Diné / Navajo. His Diné clans are Salt Clan born for the Towering House Clan. He holds an MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Crisosto is an Assistant Professor of English at the Rocky Mountain College for Art + Design (RMCAD). He is the Associate Poetry Editor for The Offing Magazine. He also continues his advocacy work for the Native American LGBTQ / ‘two-spirit’ identity.

Crisosto’s debut collection GENESIS (Lost Alphabet) stems from the vestiges of memory and cultural identity of a self-emergence as language, body, and cosmology. Some of the poems in this collection have appeared in Denver Quarterly (Pushcart Nominee), Cream City Review, Plume Anthology, Common Place: The Journal of Early American Life, photographer Christopher Felver’s Tending the Fire. and most recently The Poetry Foundation’s POETRY Magazine June 2018 issue.




Kit Thomas


“Make things happen!” says L.A.-based artist Kit Thomas. This Mohawk Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer is Wolf Clan from the St. Regis Mohawk Territory of Akwesasne. Kit (she/her/he/him) is an LGBTQ and Mental Health Advocate. This mixed media artist has been honing her painting skills for the last decade and now has a recognizable splatter paint style infused with Native American symbolism.

Kit’s evolution into digital art allows her to introduce other elements of design with social issues into this union. It extends the range of her talent even further as well as encouraging and inspiring healing within LGBTQ and Indigenous communities.




Jenny L. Davis

White sans serif text reads: "Ootfalama / (to go and return) / by Jenny L. Davis // I. Hopaaki (ancient time) / II. Otaiya (past) / III. Himmaka’ma (present) / IV. Himmaka’pila (future)". The background is an image of stars in a night sky.
White sans-serif text reads “Our stories— / were not lost”. In the foreground is deerwoman, a matriarch with long white hair in a braid and antlers. In the background are two does in a forest.
White sans-serif text reads “adapted to new places.”
 Deerwoman is a young woman with antlers wearing jeans and a black jacket. She is in an urban setting, and is walking away from a wall where a leaping doe has been painted in bright graffiti. Deer hoofprints lead from a dark puddle on the ground to where she is.
White sans-serif text reads “transcend / binaries”.
Deerwoman is in a forest of rectangles with circuits on them in the shape of trees, on the side of one is the binary sequence for issi (deer) “01101001 0110011 0110011 01101001”. She wears a fitted suit covered in zeroes and ones.
White sans-serif text reads “will be told / among the stars”. Deerwoman is a Black Native woman with white antlers, she wears a space uniform with a deer hoofprint on the right chest. Behind her is an asteroid and a constellation in the shape of a jumping deer.


Jenny L. Davis (Chickasaw) is an Indigiqueer/Two-Spirit writer and artist from Oklahoma and an assistant professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her work has most recently been published and TransmotionSanta Ana River ReviewBroadsidedYellow Medicine ReviewAs/UsRaven Chronicles; and Resist Much/Obey Little: Inaugural Poems to the Resistance and exhibited at the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways and Minnesota Center for Book Arts.




Julian Talamantez Brolaski


Julian Talamantez Brolaski the author of Of Mongrelitude (Wave Books 2017), Advice for Lovers (City Lights 2012), and gowanus atropolis (Ugly Duckling Presse 2011).  Julian’s poetry has been included in New Poets of Native Nations (Graywolf 2019), Native Voices: Indigenous American Poetry, Craft and Conversations (Tupelo 2019), Tending the Fire: Native Voices and Portraits (University of New Mexico Press 2017), and Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (Nightboat 2012).  Julian is the recipient of the 2020 Cy Twombly Award for Poetry. They are the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of Juan & the Pines, which recently released its first EP, Glittering Forest (True West 2019).  Julian lives in Goleta, California.




Rapheal Begay

A Vernacular Response is an ongoing series of images representing everyday moments, yet diverse aspects of the Navajo Nation. In support of the Dine’ way of life, the documentation of environment celebrates and interrogates site/sight-specific perspective. As a form of contemporary Navajo storytelling, the series also acts as a (re)collection of intimate moments tied to my own understanding and ever-developing relationship to my surroundings. Thus, the visuals expand the possibilities of Dine’ cultural stewardship and an ongoing mission to explore the past, create the present, and curate the future.”


A desert field just off the roadside covered in snow and fog.
1. Field (Monument Valley, UT) 2019
Side of a rock with visible watermarks located at the base of the canyon.
2. Flow (Canyon de Chelly, AZ) 2019
Wheatfields Lake reflecting the color of the sky on a cloudy day.
3. Vanishing Point (Wheatfields, AZ) 2019
Wet red dirt with snow, ice, and water on the northside of the sheep corral.
4. Side Corral (Hunter’s Point, AZ) 2019
Evening view of orange red dirt and lit vegetation on the side of a rural road.
5. Roadside Attraction (Cowsprings, AZ) 2019
Blue sky with brown water running over the edge of a stream.
6. Tip (Hunter’s Point, AZ) 2019
Covered in snow and fog, Monument Valley just visible by the outline of its base.
7. Missing (Monument Valley, UT) 2019


Rapheal Begay is a photographer and curator from the Navajo Nation. Currently based in Window Rock, AZ, he serves as the Public Information Officer for the Navajo Nation Division of Human Resources.  In 2017, he obtained his BFA in Art Studio with a minor in Arts Management and Certification in Museum Studies from the University of New Mexico. He has exhibited, curated, and collaborated in creative initiatives highlighting Queer and Indigenous art throughout the Southwest.