If you think of us at all
The Chickadee and I Enter Our Bower
being a woman's undercover chamber
Deer Eyes All This Way from Cherokee Appalachia Helping Me See How to Say Goodbye to My Father's Land
We follow the old paths, flicking off flies.
We've learned to live with stakes, but we know fear and time to go.
We drink deep, source dripping from our soft mouths.
We don't know what is ahead we only know the arrow is set to the bow.
We keep our eyes open through mist to the memory of light off leaves and heads high
we listen for sign through the sad sayings of water and stone
we know where we belong.
We fold ourselves down, grandmothers side by side in cloud-haired sun, remembering.
We tremble with the ground from trucks speeding by, letting our lids close off
what has been ours to know and dream back and forth.
We dream old dreams new and you dream me back my dream laughing
and splashing, young here, brother and sisters rafting this small bloodsucker surf,
then grown, then with my own. Our sheep and cattle invited to graze
through the years to keep it from growing in. You dream me back my dream
of wild berries, game, milk, apples, greens, how that land held and fed
and sang us how it streams every cell-of-us still MOTHER!
The water-drained ground of each rapt-eyed mother laboring her lamb
or calf glistening into the world, licking it to life
to stand and just know where to find what it needs what is any warm milk
but a drink of place?
Until I dream you back your telling of the last day of Roland the Cherokee and dream you
I see what it is like to sling a poem at a dam
and the mountainous sorrows of mountain people being Removed again
in trails of tears and
we dream back and forth the drowning of the Little Tennessee Valley
and your dream of Roland in silence listening to the water flooding forever
ancient birth and burial grounds
dream of warrior Roland shedding his clothes in winter weeds your
dream of Roland circling the boulder of the sacred fire pit the Old Ones
said still burned deep in the earth, circling the rock with rope, your dream
of Roland muscling seven knots about his naked waist
tight...tighter...bracing his back to the granite and the water higher....higher
his spirit aimed and his elder up a towering ledge oak keeping watch for it
arcing into the sky the Old One climbing down to take the message,
as promised, to the people. "Begin again."
We dream what comes of such wrong and I dream you I know it's a small grief
to lose a small deer run even if the hay where we have been all this time
is bedding I've called beautiful and you dream me back no lost homeland
is small but of earth's whole grief the One Creaturebeat
and we dream this together in the mystery of shared insight
that is the only comfort for becoming rememberers
and dream each other that in the same way our spirits know they are of The One
we know this little pasture and its brook and the waters raining and welling
and breaking into it are all of The One What Is and its One Water so
will return to us some other way in time
for the next ones drawn and
we rise above it.
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