Natalie Diaz – Lake-Loop

Natalie Diaz (September 4, 1978 -)

 because there was yet no lake

into many nights we made the lake
        a labor, and its necessary laborings
to find the basin not yet opened
in my body, yet my body — any body
wet or water from the start, to fill a clay
, start being what it ever means, a beginning —
the earth’s first hand on a vision-quest
wildering night’s skin fields, for touch
        like a dark horse made of air
, turned downward in the dusk, opaquing
a hand resembles its ancestors —
the war, or the horse who war made
        , what it means to be made
to be ruined before becoming — rift
        glacial, ablation and breaking
lake-hip sloping, fluvial, then spilled —

I unzip the lake, walk into what I am —
        the thermocline, and oxygen
, as is with kills, rivers, seas, the water
        is of our own naming
I am wet we call it because it is
a happening, is happening now

imagined light is light’s imagination
a lake shape of it
        , the obligatory body, its dark burning
reminding us back, memory as filter
desire as lagan, a hydrology —
        The lake is alone, we say in Mojave

, every story happens because someone’s mouth,
a nature dependent — life, universe
        Here at the lake, say
, she wanted what she said
        to slip down into it
for which a good lake will rise — Lake
which once meant, sacrifice
which once meant, I am devoted

        , Here I am, atmosphere
sensation, pressure
, the lake is beneath me, pleasure bounded
a slip space between touch and not
slip of paper, slip of hand
        slip body turning toward slip trouble
, I am who slipped the moorings
        I am so red with lack

to loop-knot
or leave the loop beyond the knot
        we won’t say love because it is
a difference between vertex and vertices —
the number of surfaces we break
enough or many to make the lake
        loosened from the rock
one body’s dearth is another body’s ache
        lay it to the earth

, all great lakes are meant to take
        sediment, leg, wrist, wrist, the ear
let down and wet with stars, dock lights
distant but wanted deep,
        to be held in the well of the eye
woven like water, through itself, in
and inside, how to sate a depression
if not with darkness — if darkness is not
        fingers brushing a body, shhhh
, she said, I don’t know what the world is

I slip for her, or anything
, like language, new each time
        diffusion — remade and organized
and because nothing is enough, waves —
each an emotional museum of water

left light trembles a lake figure on loop
        a night-loop
, every story is a story of water
        before it is gold and alone
before it is black like a rat snake
I begin at the lake
, clean once, now drained
        I am murk — I am not clean
everything has already happened
always the lake is just up ahead in the poem
, my mouth is the moon, I bring it down
lay it over the lake of her thighs
        warm lamping ax
hewing water’s tender shell
slant slip, entering like light, surrounded
into another skin
        where there was yet no lake
yet we made it, make it still
to drink and clean ourselves on