Erin Bad Hand

Erin-ReadingErin Bad Hand was our NeoRio 2014 featured writer. She read her chosen works around the NeoRio campfire. The poems below are what she chose to share with us.

Low Light 

When the moon passes silver
to egg-shell

resembling the fade of
this long day, this relationship

I no longer want
that you hold my hand

Our time has sloped and risen against itself
derived from the coal of my earth

as diamonds are
when there is pressure enough

Our shine has become a
crepuscular creature

you crest the hillside
of my heart with your vengeance

your touch
clings, like burned sugar

to my cresylic heart.


My cells ache with you
flush you out

drain your heart
make you angry

We follow vertical trails
evaporating slowly

Your viridescent fear
spills aqua in my lap

I am confusing your tears
with my own

I have learned in this purging
I will not speak your name


delicate bloom
and bittersweet fruition

when I caught you
surprised your sensibilities
demanded open to me

I wish the day
heard our love
the scrape and grate
of desert bed
or sand or the smell
of our sex

I bled for you

each of your fingers like needles
the sting of your scent in every curve

then the morning
and you were gone

To a Lover

you are the sun

you taste like ash

you are a flower with teeth

you are the moon

some days, the sun and the moon are one

you are my heart

my heart changes

you will be the hard winter

you will be the earth

the cherries of your lips will ripen

you will be the moon of tender grass

I will be water and I will cry for you

some days, we will not have tongues to speak to one another

your tongue is a stone that sits, heavy, in the bottom of my mouth


I have searched for you
In the moon of snow blindness
In the hum of a green summer
In the mica that flakes from the clay pot

You spin from me like a dream
Dizzily recollected
Woven from Iktomi’s silken threads
A split ray of light

I have compared you, perhaps unfairly
To a golden eagle in the madness of flight
To the tender grass that hides beneath the rock of the well

You have been the warrior who stakes his foot to the earth
In defiance

To defend his fleeing children
To hold Death by the throat

Stare into my face
In the crackle of the cedar fire
In the smoke that drifts up from the sage

Come closer
Pray with me

I want to find you
In the silence of this winter night


You are the vast space

I run my fingers through

to find my place.

Do I feel like home to you?

To Find You

in the world that is our home
I am searching for you
lost in the fog so long ago

what is this ghost of you
What I remember– your eyes
a color like the turbulent sea

slate gray, but I never grew up
around the ocean
there is no water in my skin


we climbed the hills, slowly
just the four of us, child-sized
dizzied by fireflies and a sweltering heat
that soaked the clothes on our backs

we pretended to swim through that summer night
my two sisters, me, my brother
chasing monsters we had never seen before
in the fading light awash with vibrant green

we glowed in the dark that summer
baby sister, just 4 years old, clung to my t-shirt
and brother held toads that spoke in tongues before our eyes
the smoky mountains, mother’s homeland

rose out from the fog
that swallowed us whole
drank us into a dream world
children from the desert, wet through

*Lakota word for fog

©Erin Bad Hand 2014

erinNeoRio 2014 Featured Writer: Erin Bad Hand

Poet Erin Bad Hand, Lakota and Eastern Cherokee, deals with issues of multi-cultural identity in her poetry. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in May of 2006. Since then, she has worked with and for not-for-profit organizations in Taos, New Mexico and has taught  introductory creative writing courses at UNM-Taos. Erin’s published poems include “Could You Be The Perfect Wife?” Chokecherries, A Society of the Muse of the Southwest Anthology, 1997, “Mother Land,” The Sister Fund Newsletter, Sister Fund Foundation, 2001, and others, as well as a short essay, Much More Than Teepees or Totem Poles, Fnews Magazine, SAIC, 2005 and a chapbook published by the Hulbert Center Press of Colorado College titled And Then Everyone Can Rest…., 2002. She is also a Northern Traditional Dancer, a singer with Heartbeat Drum, and a self-proclaimed foodie.

1 thought on “Erin Bad Hand

  1. Pingback: 4th Featured Thinker: Erin Bad Hand, Poet | Thinking Wilderness

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