Jan Beatty: “Half-Sun over Powder River”


Half-sun over the Big Horns—white clouds graze the foothills
and you’re on my mind. Your skin on mine,

voice sleepy low: I’m resting my eyes as you fall deep into me.
Light beneath the clouds an alien breakthrough,

string dream to the sky. If you fly that shimmering
to Powder River, running down from the high plains,

you’ll find that full-sun sky where sand looks like dust,
a dust that runs to the underground earth

where the three forks meet—the swirling below,
the fire circle, this sweet life with you.

Jan Beatty is the winner of the Red Hen Nonfiction Award for her memoir, American Bastard (2021). Her sixth book, The Body Wars (2020), was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Other books include Jackknife: New and Collected Poems (2018 Paterson Prize). Her poems have been published in The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Poetry, Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, Best American Poetry, BuzzFeed, New England Review, Pleiades, and North American Review. Beatty was named Faculty Emerita at Carlow University, where she directed Creative Writing, the Madwomen in the Attic writing workshops, and the MFA program.

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