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Scuffed Rough Paw

Poem by Robert Haukaas

             we are fed slop, we snarl and snap at each other,


                                 never enough of what we think there is enough of.



             a scuffed rough paw limps down a barren assimilated valley


                       and weary traveler carries unrest upon his shoulders and


is a beggar of life as death becomes a compassionate companion.




          the traveler asks of the paw, he can see the cracks deep as a valley within the roughness

of the paw.

          it scathes him whole and turns him into a finer dust of metallic and his unrest. the pile is

swept up to the quietness of the stars.

          paw prints lead mountains that are covered in a cloud-colored mask in a jagged line,


seeking snarling, snapping. we are beasts, and the mountains seek and seek, while our snouts


          become overgrown with moss.


oil painting of melting desire

they get tangled in my phantasm

                and I sit stuck melted in a seat of non-existence

with mourning shadows


I let out somber cries

and wore sad

                                my entire life

it was rigid darkness

                 that had to give me warmth, I wrote

of a metallicized bison running calmly


like an anxious tap

and as quiet as the death of a star

                                   our stares become familiar

we imitate our faith collapsing

                and like a tree rotting

it starts on the inside


where the roots reach through throat

leaking liquid rust onto

                                  the tender pieces of earth

u feel the air wanting to escape

                 I sympathize with myself

and my worn sadness


that masks me this day

that bison kept running

                                   with shattered legs

Fallen Tree

the roughness of the sun

there is something

         about the absence of your air

how it sticks

to the fabrics of my shirt and

makes crowded spaces

          in my mind feel lonely

and if words on the page

could reflect such sullenness

          i would sit with evening plants and

their ear shaped leaves blowing in the wind

in the swaying grass lay a silver fox shining and

with every step sounding like clashing foil

i lay in the stillness of a hazy, plagued world

wishing this heat from the sun would soften

Tropical Leaves
Robert Haukaas is currently a student at the Institute of the American Indian Arts.
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