“Without” by Joy Harjo


The world will keep trudging through time without us

When we lift from the story contest to fly home

We will be as falling stars to those watching from the edge

Of grief and heartbreak

Maybe then we will see the design of the two-minded creature

And know why half the world fights righteously for greedy masters

And the other half is nailing it all back together

Through the smoke of cooking fires, lovers’ trysts, and endless

Human industry—

Maybe then, beloved rascal

We will find each other again in the timeless weave of breathing

We will sit under the trees in the shadow of earth sorrows

Watch hyenas drink rain, and laugh.


Joy Harjo, 1951–

This poem originally appeared in The New Yorker
© 2021 by Joy Harjo

Photo by Niels Smeets on Unsplash

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