Nathan Erwin

A Dream of Nightswimming

We’re in the gravel pits, filled with rainwater, again.

From somewhere,                              I pull a match                      & light fire

to the constellations’ dark reflection.                            Pisces moon.

Our skin wells up with moths. I keep trying to crawl up to the light                   as the light

                                                                              crawls out of

the sap-drenched sky. Of course, we’re as beautiful as                            river rock collapsing,

                                                                & no one, other than us,
cold boys with restless shouts, believe

there is something submerged here worth more

                                                   than the price

                                                   of our bodies, the milk-blue

   blade of our skin.

 The night stops &  

                       & swallows.

The filaments of our liver

ache with the distant cry of morning.

                                         Our freckled legs tread, rigid, ‘til we become

               a thin bone lodged in the quarry’s windpipe.                          

Nathan Erwin is a land-based poet raised on the Allegheny Plateau, the northernmost tier of Appalachia. A community organizer, Erwin currently operates at the Pocasset Pokanoket Land Trust building healthy futures for indigenous farmers and organizing around land repatriation. His writing has recently appeared in Ninth Letter, Willow Springs, FOLIO, Bombay Gin, Rust & Moth, and Poet Lore. His organizing and his poetry are conversant, and so he writes about land, drugs, myths, and wanting.