“We are vanishing lines in history books,” Tanaya Winder writes of Native American women in “Missing More Than a Word.” Through her own lines of poetry, she seeks to make visible that population’s invisibility, describing the many Native women who go missing or suffer from sexual assault: “1 in 3 Native women will be raped in her lifetime”; “Native women are 2.5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted compared to all other races.” The phrases’ grammar is telling: passive verbs echo the women’s lack of control in such situations.

But elsewhere in the poem, verbs work differently. Winder describes one woman’s desire for “verbs that will story our bodies into something more / than missing, more than squaw or lost, beyond statistics.” Later, she adds: “Let us poem a place where you cannot erase us into white space.” In transforming “story” and “poem” from nouns into verbs, Winder increases their agency and potency. And the latter line—with its triple-rhyme of “place,” “erase,” and “space”—is self-consciously poetic, and thus a claim to power.