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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.
Widespread rain descended
In the corner of my dreams;
A monsoon of drenching relief;
A tide to wash the slate clean.

I am a woman now;
Not a girl.
And all of the wounds I’ve won
Unfurl across my body
And my soul
Like shiny medals of valor
Or one, fragile, papyrus scroll.

And thus garbed, and so adorned,
I will wade through the cooling waters of
This cleansing storm.

Widespread rain descended
Filling my outstretched arms;
Quenching the memory of the battle;
Bringing the strength to end the war.

I am worthy now.
I am enough.
And in my hand, I crush the dust
Of guilt, of shame,
Releasing these bitter grains
To the absolution that comes with  
The drumming of
The rain.
Written September 2018. For anyone who needs to hear it. You are enough.
One day these hills will be all we have left.
The thickened pines and needle laden tracks
That rise to summits formed of smooth and serrated granite;
One day I will raise my eyes to these peaks
And see in them the only
Faces of familiarity I can find.
Life is like that.
Everything changes.
The ones we love the most leave
Empty hollows like abandoned
Caverns above the falls,
And darkness spreads where light’s erased
In the the narrow crevices of time.  

One day I will be an old soul, alone in a wicker chair,
Looking to the reddened sky behind the peaks;
Faces I have loved streaming by
And lifting to the wind
That shakes the leaves all the way to the spires of
The ever-constant hills.
They have watched generations rise and fall,
And how I love you like a fire
Burning in the fragile spaces
Between the roughened cliffs
That encroach upon us all.
The darkness filtered in across the Wind River Range
Drifting through the ancient spaces of Arapaho plains,
And I, still a child of sixteen,
Huddled in a sleeping bag,
Staring up at a vast black sky,
Patterned with the scattered dancing
Of a million stars.
And the wind, it felt like freedom
And the mountains they were beating
With some kind of barely audible drum.
But I could feel it in my bones,
Like the faintest whisper;
“This is home.”

And so I let the darkness
Fall all around me.
And later, in the depths of an Arapaho ceremony,
I felt my skin cascade
My ribs break
And suddenly, from my naked heart,
I just knew how to pray.

That opening, it never closed,
So that, even now,
The dust of sacred things
Clings tightly to my soul.
And in the blindness of the crowds
I desperately chase it,
Through the veils of common day
I find new ways to trace it.

That light.

It is there, you know. Can you see it?

When just born, we can.
I see it in my children’s eyes,
The lingering of a love
Stronger than all the love of man,
So devoid of fear, unfaltering, pure,
So beautiful that when I hold them
My hearts breaks apart in tears.

And I don’t want to lose it.

That light.

All my life, I’ve sought the broken, held the strays,
Caressed the wounded spaces,
Tried so hard to mend the pieces,
Trailing blood along the way.
And the blood it bleeds from a place of honesty;
Yet, selfishly, washes away the layers of protection
People create
Exposing them to me
Feeding my soul the light that I so desperately seek.

And now, you.
You, burning with the same light that I’ve always known,
And I, like a child again, facing the Arapaho moon,
I can feel these sacred things move
Between us
Like remembrances of some other home.
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