The Waltz

Midnight interlude
Barn owls
Instinctively, rhythmically,
A white waltz
To an orchestra
Of eastwardly drifting fog

~ Sheri Rene’ Watson


Hawk rises on chilling up-drafts,
Dim, low winter moon eclipses.
Shadows haunt fields,
Long stripped of sanctuary.
Scarce prey burrow
This cold and shortest of days,
A gathering storm in the west,
Last hope of reaping warmth 
Extinguished by too early night.

~ Sheri Rene’ Watson

Coyote Still

Standing, coyote still,
Eyes reflect moonlit fields,
Valley widening to Sierra foothills.

Her gaze dead calm, breath withheld.

Her silver throated bays
Penetrate oiled flight feathers to bone.
Her ears triangulate prescient death exhales,.
Musk, subtly, mesmerizes.

She leaps, powerful haunches,
That delicate grace of existence gleaned
Ravaged in unrelenting savage jaw.

Dawn quietly scavenges
The remains of the night
As she disappears,
Before discovery marks her
The hunted.

~ Sheri Rene’ Watson

Options and Alternatives

My brother was born in a tipi meeting.
Traditions run deep in the family.
The intertwining of pipe and peyote.
Of sun dance and the tipi.
He is of Tatanka Iotanka and Hehaka Gleska,
Of Wasicu Tasunka and Tasunka Witko,
Of Sword and a Mexican man named Sierra,
Of Beatrice Long Visitor Holy Dance and John Weasel Bear.
My brother is of the reservation born and bred,
Yet he is of the coasts as well.
Of California where he brings ceremony,
And New York where he records his music.
This is a complicated man
Of complicated choices.
Of hard living
And declining health.
This is a complicated man,
Of strong traditions,
Of powerful faith,
And a well earned peaceful heart.
Strength is something that ebbs and flows.
Medical treatments are much less than perfect.
Gone are the days of ‘Firstly do no harm’.
Sometimes, no matter what is said, harm is very great
          and good is very small.
In hospital, all techniques are invasive.
When one is ill, ‘informed consent’ can be difficult.
Are we treating the flu, cancer, heart disease, kidney failure?
Or are we trying to juggle all at once?
Procedures are exhausting.
They always seem to be painful.
One endures in order to get better.
But what if the result is serious damage?
There is nothing pleasant about the first stage of grief.
Anger rips through everyone.
He is too young, this is too soon.
The tension is everywhere.
The end is truly almost a month long struggle.
The suffering is obvious.
Late night text messages speak of unspeakable choices.
Ultimately the decision to go home is made.
Home to the rez.
Home to the land.
Home to sisters and brothers.
Home to prepare.
The journey comes in the morning.
The journey ends the struggle.
The journey home’
Brings a final peace.
Dedicated to Aloysius John Weasel Bear
June 6, 1966 to November 19, 2017
~ Maureen Brucker