Self Portrait

Michael Wasson


In the year of their lord, this eleventh day of June, I enter the boundaries of my body:The said [centuries here dissolve & I re-ink nimiipuu] hereby cede, relinquish &
convey—here,I want to convey how my physical testament is written &, at a particular point,
then erased into the land—to the United States all their right, title, & interest in & to the country occupied
or claimed by them,bounded & described as follows, to wit:in the year of their lord, in the boundaries of my body, they intend to clarify
the divisions & say to wit:& so I enter every name of the dead into each source of water, each river mouth,
every flattened field:& I cross out the cross of the divide & lie down on the crest of [every mountain
has its name,a place of, a place where the animals & humans met, a place where the story began,a place where the blood was washed, a place at the heart named for our monster(s)
& tim’néepe,a place where the gray coldness looms like hiqúxquxcenki, where America names over
the land [lapelápewéetes], a place where the blue haze of warmth looms like hi’lap’ápxp’apxcanki, where
the bodies lieunburied]. I, a silhouette, a hereunto, am between the articles of the & a(n):
indefinite, definite:& it is here in the boundaries I have no choice but: to set [my] hands, on this
eleventh day of June,on behalf of the above-named, at the place, on the day & year hereinbefore written,
to seal the bodyshut:[x] [an empty cross, fallen ]
                                                                         Sealed and signed in the presence of us—

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Michael Wasson is the author of This American Ghost (YesYes Books, 2017). A 2018 Native Arts & Cultures Foundation National Artist Fellow in Literature, he is nimíipuu from the Nez Perce Reservation in Idaho.

Beloit Poetry Journal

Winter 2018

Windham, Maine

Melissa Crowe

Associate Editor
Rachel Contreni Flynn

Managing Editor
Mark Crowe

Our longstanding mission is to seek out and share work of fresh and lasting power, poems that speak startling, complicated, necessary truths and that do so in surprising and beautiful ways. Since 1950, the BPJ has cleaved to a set of editorial practices that enable discovery of vibrant new voices and that foster long-lasting relationships with some of the most gifted, important poets of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Our aim is to offer work that pushes boundaries of content, aesthetic, and form—to showcase what’s becoming of contemporary poetry—and we do so the old fashioned way. Senior staff read each submission thoroughly and openheartedly; when a poem moves, informs, and inspires us, we forward it to the entire editorial board, a group of about half a dozen skilled volunteer readers. These readers weigh in, and what continues to engage the group comes with us to the next biannual editorial board meeting.

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