I write because in childhood I roamed

the stacks in public libraries. There I found books

filled with wisdom in words I was too young to know the meaning of.

Love, loss, death, racism, blood quantum, suffering, song

Later I experienced the definitions. When I was in 3rd grade

my teacher told me I could write, poetry.

But even before then, I wrote. I write

because someone somewhere is searching for words.

I write because I am always searching, searching, searching…

for stories, songs, poems, blogs, and all the above. I write because I

love. And to fall means some kind of dying;

that sadness fills oceans, rooms, the crevices inside us

and we are always at risk of drowning. So I cling

to craft like I’m holding onto life (maybe even my own).

I write in spite of Death’s splintering hearts into pieces.

I write because I am afraid.

I write because words are waiting behind doors, in dusty corners, and on ledges to leap or be swept up by us.

I write because there are some things only the page is capable of helping you make sense of.

I write in hopes of my words becoming constellations for others to find their own way home (whatever, wherever that may be). I write because someone else’s words led me.

I write because someone somewhere is searching for words to read;

to unleash their inner demons, hug them, and send them on their way.

I write because my relationship with words is the best and worst relationship I’ve ever had (so maybe that makes it the greatest).

I write because not writing is not an option.

I write because there is song within me. When I write I am free. Somewhere

in the white space of the page is ‘the knowing’ waiting

for each of us to jump in and come out with words

migrating from our mouths

like birds to carry on.

BIO: Tanaya Winder is from the Southern Ute and Duckwater Shoshone Nations. She was a finalist in the 2009 Joy Harjo Poetry Competition and a winner of the A Room Of Her Own Foundation’s Spring 2010 Orlando prize in poetry. Tanaya’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Cutthroat magazine, Adobe Walls, Superstition Review, Kweli, and Drunkenboat among others. She holds a BA in English from Stanford University and MFA in poetry from the University of New Mexico.

You can find out more at Tanaya’s website.