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  • Aspect Ratio, and: Migration
  • Sara Marie Ortiz (bio)

Aspect Ratio

Aspect ratio.


Beginning: thousands of feet in the sky high above the frozen earth,quite possibly near Red Lake, the place of his birth and going-back-to.

There is a distinct likelihood of my seeing him again. And soon.

He still owes me money. And I still owe him somethingI don't have a name for.

We owe one another more than we feel we've the blood for most days,something like an apology for our blood, and memories, and dreams,and our bloody dream memories that we began dreaming before birth;little infinite language of this.

Something like the promise of our bones and marrowcoming to be enough, after all; just as we are finishing up our last holy workhere on the earth, just as we are finally getting the fullest light in our frame,the promise coming to be everything that ever was, is, and will be, in the hearts& minds of our grandchildren, and our grandchildren's grandchildren,if we can just muster the blood, breath, and courageto bring them forth, away from the sharp, icy tundra of [End Page 47]

our little lasting human terrors.

Yes, you and I, my eviscerated loves, each and every one of you:we owe each other that.

And more.


Last nightand for some days precedinga holy migration:of praying mantises,earthworms,and a single blacksalamander with yellow spots,the slick shiny black wet bodyof him moved slowlyjust outside my front door,gentle, on the mat that says"Welcome." I am thinking nowof your ability to survive—somehow, amid fire,and for the growing backof lost or severed limbs, and how I'd been praying,only minutes before, a prayer for, of,exactly this, whilst human.

It is the desert but,if they do exist at all,we are near wetlands of a sort,nestled near the mesaand the petroglyphs. And thereare owls nearby. But the migrationis something I've never seen,the mantises,the undulating, [End Page 48]

veined bodies of worms,and the salamander—hungry, no doubt—all, making their way slowlytoward my door. [End Page 49]

Sara Marie Ortiz

Sara Marie Ortiz is an Acoma Pueblo memoirist, poet, scholar, performing artist, documentary filmmaker, and indigenous peoples advocate. She is a graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts and received her MFA with a concentration in creative nonfiction from Antioch University-Los Angeles. Her most recent publications include works of poetry and prose in Drunken Boat, Kenyon Review, Florida Review, New Poets of the American West, Sing: Indigenous Poetry of the Americas, and elsewhere. She currently is producing a documentary on the life and legacy of her father, Simon J. Ortiz.



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