As Us

A Space for Writers of the World

Erika Wurth – Poetry

Fists Clenched, Holding

In the Anodyne, in the middle of this wild red city of wind and dust,
she would slide her hands over the old green pool tables, over
the new brown arms of the boys next to her, their sticks
hitting the mark, her hands in her pockets, her money in her fists.

And she would tell me about her man, the one she said she loved,
though I was never quite sure, his children with many billygannas,
women he’d met here, their hands in their pockets, their fists clenched too.

How he would go back to them or to others like them, after their storms.
After the rain had flooded the streets, the monsoon had passed, I’d say leave him;
my voice as useless as stones dropped in the deepest part of a well, and forgotten.

Listen to Erika Read This Poem

* * *

He Brought Me Down

He brought me down on the old grey carpet,
in the empty room, the smell of smoke and blood
everywhere, the girl he didn’t want
waiting outside.

But in that empty room, the darkness
complete, my head racing with images of her face,
how it had mirrored mine with her long dark hair
in her long black car, in the middle of the desert,
her eyes narrowing into mine, his short dark hands rough
but walking in beauty and on the edge,

I came to understand what those hands wanted of me.

He said he couldn’t help himself,
his mother a teacher, his father a medicine man,
my long yellow body like so many others,
wrapped around his small one,

his skin the darkest cedar.

Days later, on that last night under the stars,
I don’t know if we woke the neighbors,
but something dark and dangerous came awake inside me,
sliding back into the grass, a blooming of something bright
as the blood that had come from my hand that first night,
when I’d gone to open the bottle of cheap white wine
for the girl he was going to put aside for me only hours later.

You’re strong, she said. Yes, I said, pushing down and watching the blood rush forth.

Listen to Erika Read This Poem

* * *

Erika Wurth headshotErika T. Wurth is Apache/Chickasaw/Cherokee and she was raised right outside of Denver. Her collection of poetry, Indian Trains was published by the University of New Mexico’s West End Press.Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Boulevard, SAIL, AMCRJ, Cedar Hill Review, Fiction, Raven Chronicles, Pembroke, Generation What?, Ellipsis, 5AM, Global City Review, The Bryant Literary Review, Red Ink, Lost Horse Press, Vibrant Grey, Florida Review, Stand, Drunken Boat, The Cape Rock, The Cimmaron Review and Yellow Medicine Review.She attended Macondo and has been accepted into the Vermont Studio. She lives in Macomb, Illinois where she teaches Creative writing at Western Illinois University. She was a visiting writer at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

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