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Jul 19
Come home from eagle-throated distance,
The canoe-tip of the crescent moon scuds
Into the silted, mud-bed of heaven.
Her face-dream beside the pine trees
The mollusc of purpled wampum beads shining.  

Bury my hands, ninidji, in the eagle’s nest,
Carry my feeling words to her on wings.
Let her mix roots, berries, clay
and the feather of my hands
To paint her face with my words and these trees.

Or let my hands ripple like flat-fish
Above the silt-bed of her slim stomach,
Held there in radiant scaled warmth.
Lappihanne, the rapid water of our river heart,
Like an arrow that glides from the bow,
My people where the tide ebbs and flows.

To us both, the dark, golden edge of woods whispers, kuwumaras
And the water arrow will never land,
But carried in my eagle’s hands,
I say kuwumaras, my love, and pierce through all darkness
To the empty path made full with the ripples of all who have passed.
My nika, swan of the woods, let us dive into the dark, golden sea
Of forever in the hills.
All italicized words are Algonquin.
"Wampum" is well-known as the colorful beads made from whelk shells and later used as currency in trading with New World explorers.
"Lappihanne" was the basis for the word Rappahannock, which is also the name of the tribe known as the "people of the ebb and flow tide"
"Kuwumaras" means "I love you"
All other words are self-explained in the above.

Roots, berries, clay, and sometimes feathers were used for face paint.
Chris Saitta
Written by
Chris Saitta  49/M/Virginia
(49/M/Virginia)   
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