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Dawn Pichón Barron


Man Camps


“It’s growing faster than any place else in the country,” the mayor said with a smile. “It’s exciting. It’s amazing what oil can do for you. Black Gold.” “The dark side of the oil boom: Human trafficking in the heartland” by Aaron Ernst


Williston, I beg you to be a woman

To understand the breaking of hearts

And children. You are not; and I grieve

Oiled human tears for

How could you not know what would happen

With all those men? Men have not civilized

Themselves when they have drugs, alcohol,

Money to burn, anger to churn and seek

Release. Release, you know:

Hitting something, hurting something, fucking something

Turns out that something is a Sum One. A girl, a boy,

A woman. Yours, his, mine ours.

Bakken, a shale rock formation, now run through

By greed and gluttony. To be used, discarded, and

Folded into a burned memory. And when the Black Gold

Is gone, the shame will follow you; the broken will be left

Behind to fossilize their grief.

One Way Back

On scabbed knees, fingers claw raw earth

Moonglow splinters seed the ground

Speaking in one language tikha hiket ishtia

Thieving hope as heavy as the

Fossilizing of hearts scattered across the grass

You slink and stutter

Spine bending to rainbow curve

Head near touching, almost there

As stone upon stone

Is placed on your back


Mouth now full of dirt.

The Red Dress Flattens Me

Did your fear and blood soak the soil, trickle

Through rocks to be cleansed and

Where did you go? Who took you there?

How many red dresses must we wear, and how long

As your face and stats, like a model’s calling card

Yellow and tear from the sides of buildings, light poles

The dreams you had remain still because ones

Who love you cannot, will not, forget the gap

Of where you once held space

In a body that should have lasted,

Carried you into the years

Not into the hands of an epidemic

Recognizable by only those who have felt

The cutting away of, are left with the scars

And memories will never be enough

Or prayers or any medicine

To bring you back

-from Escape Girl Blues (Finishing Line Press 2018) selected by Spring 2022 Guest Editor, CMarie Fuhrman 

Dawn Pichón Barron (Choctaw/Mexican/Euro) is the Academic Director of the Native Pathways Program and Creative Writing Faculty at the Evergreen State College. Born in Southern California, raised in rural Spokane, she is currently a doctoral candidate (Indigenous Development & Advancement) at Te Whare Wananga O Awanuiarangi–research focused on Identity Politics and Indigeneity in Institutions of Higher Learning. She founded and curated the Gray Skies Reading Series 2009-2019. Her chapbook, ESCAPE GIRL BLUES, was published by Finishing Line Press, 2018. Other work can be found at Moss, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Washington 129 Poetry Anthology, Yellow Medicine Review, Barrelhouse, and elsewhere. She lives with her wingman and Chihuahuas at the southern tip of the Salish Sea.


Victoria Chang


Victoria Chang

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