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it was the whisper
a subtle caress
the faintest touch
into my thoughts
as they fall
catching moon rays
Weave a weft of strong souls in your blanket,
Strings of strength to keep out the storm,
Sing as you spin the songs of your people,
Promise that wherever they are is home.
Make moccasins thick with the gifts of the Mountains,
Lined with equal parts courage and pain,
Stitch beads on the tongue in circles at the center,
So they'll bring you back to your clan again.
The shirt, you see, needs a lining of patience.
Seams on the spirit will help you withstand
The beatings, oppression, the hunger for land.
While you are dressing, remember your soul,
Wreath it in memories of when we were whole,
Ask what it means to remain unconquered,
Learn nothing that might someday cost you your soul.
~ Dr. Dawn Karima
Before there was Grace, there were doctrines of Eden,
Where deities met and decided your fate,
By the weight of your heart,
By the taste of its deeds,
A bitter aftertaste closed the afterlife's doors.
A Choctaw veteran told me this on a train through the Ozarks, in fog and rain,
"That's why they work so hard to take,
A chaos that makes us hate."
We passed a road sign for Redman tobacco.
The irony was not lost on us both.
~ Dr. Dawn Karima
The Forgotten Ones
Tule elk once lived here
swimming across the strait
by the hundreds,
a strange sight
to the settlers,
but long since gone to the hunters.
The sun sets,
the spring rains renew the ground
where they once roamed.
No one else seems to remember
the rough lands.
~ Sheri Watson
This Sacred World
fought for us
this sacred world
full of egrets, and tule elk,
pintails, and cormorants,
red hawks and ospreys
barely clings on.
Only the shrew
would have known
the annual animal
with lost time.
The sacred tribe
didn’t know we