Poem of the Week

curated by Meg Day, Allison Adelle Hedge Coke & Niki Herd

Brought to you on Wednesdays to help you over the hump!



May 6, 2015 /

The Cure for Melancholy is to Take the Horn

Natalie Diaz


The Cure for Melancholy is to Take the Horn

   Powdered unicorn horn was once thought to cure melancholy.

What carries the hurt is never the wound
   but the red garden sewn by the horn
as it left
––and she left. I am rosing,
   blooming absence, its brilliant alarum.

Brodsky said, Darkness restores what light cannot
You thrilled me––opened to the comb.
O, wizard, O, wound. I want the ebon bull and the moon
   I’ve come for the honeyed horn.

Queen Elizabeth traded a castle for a single horn.
   Surrender to the kingdom in my hands
army of touch marching upon the alcazar
   of your thighs like bright horns. 

I arrive at you
––half bestia, half feast.
   Tonight we harvest the luxed forest
of Caderas, name the darkful fruit
   spicing our mouths, separate sweet from thorn.

Lanternist, in your wicked palm,
   the bronzed lamp of my breast. Strike the sparker
take me with tremble. Into your lap
   let me lay my heavy horns.

I fulfilled the prophecy of your throat,
   loosed in you the fabulous wing of my mouth
red holy-red ghost. I spoke to god,
   returned to you feathered, seraphimed and horned.

Our bodies are nothing if not places to be had by,
   as in, God, she has me by the throat,
by the hip bone, by the moon. God,
   she has me by the horn.


[© copyright Natalie Diaz]



Curator's notes

Meg Day: Since it came out in the Paris-American, I’ve read this poem to anybody who will listen. I don’t mind being effusive when it’s deserved: this is a total knock-out. Diaz has taken repetition to a new altitude & flung it back at us with an almost renaissance sensibility & quick, sinewy turns to match. If Anne Carson is right in assuming that desire teaches us about edges—and certainly Gloria Anzaldua’s borderland proves nothing less—then Diaz’s “The Cure for Melancholy Is to Take the Horn” sits in the space of eros—between the vehicle & the tenor—in the deepest & most pleasurable of unsatisfied & unsatisfiable desire. This poem is pleading in its tenderness & unapologetic in its juxtapositioning the joy & pain of history & futurity all at once.

Natalie Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press. She is a 2012 Lannan Literary Fellow and a 2012 Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellow. Diaz teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts Low Rez MFA program and lives in Mohave Valley, Arizona, where she directs the Fort Mojave Language Recovery Program.














































































































































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