Native American

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nipê wânîn

nipê wânîn

my way back
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my way back


they came before me
their blood is my blood
sitting under a black sky sprinkled with stars
my eyes are called to the ones who have gone before
my ancestors love to dance
late at night they join hands
brilliant serpentine belt
in the northern sky
purple splashes on green
shawl upon skirt
great grandmothers
my ancestors love to dance


I didn’t know I could still hear them
swishing in the wind
in the solitude of dark
great grandmothers who danced
to a drum only they could hear
until I sit in silence
thoughts tangled like red willow branches
confusion settled in the roots
curling, struggling to reach the glow of life
with nurture and warmth
mind will find a way
through barricades of branches
I didn’t know I could still hear them
until I fell away from chaos
and my spirit listened
to view a crimson sunrise
wonder at clouds etched with gold
swim in the deep blues of sky
dance with grass in the wind


I find my way back to the arms of nôhkom
my grandmother, my teacher
silence is a sign of respect
tobacco burns in the ashtray
smoke rises
thick at the flame
slowly dissipating
until it is scent in the air
words spoken in hushed voices
their sacredness not to be shouted
do not be afraid
in a circle of women I see myself
their blood is my blood
my ancestors


silence a sign of respect
attitudes can be changed


all can be forgiven
one love
all people, all animals, all things
my heartbeat slows, my spirit breathes
in a circle of women I find myself
with my ancestors

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