Among elders found camped everywhere around
The region, does anyone have the right to know
Whose voice is this? Only someone who needs shoes, I guess.
Is this the voice belonging to some of them hailing from Pine Ridge?
Those still living exactly and doing as they do, softly whimpering and groaning
From beneath the confines of a striped smallpox blanket?
In a stuttering stampede, among transcendent ghosts transformed,
In a posse of minutes, who is it that I’m hearing from?
Why does the mountain echo and calibrate the silence of the sages?
What is the nature of ceremonial Time?
In a trading post of minutes, whose cup of wine
Overturned that burns the cedar tailings in the ground?
Softly groaning from beneath a woven blanket,
Still breathing, heartfelt within a sighing breath,
Bone convened within continent of birds and flesh,
Guileless, in bereavement concealed, yet still breathing,
Unasked, guileless, within each bejeweled and gleaming mask,
Revoked, reviewed, rehearsed, in grief-stricken moments,
Outlasting momentary redress of grievance,
Outliving and enduring immortality’s presence,
Save the presence of countless, nameless synapses
Peopling impartial tasks of life’s braille particles and passages
Reversed among interstices of sacred, traditional lineage,
In the way of a body stretched out before an altar,
Lying motionless upon perfumed shroud of bedclothes.
At the time of death, each story must be foreshortened.
Whence cometh the dreamer? Will I ever be told the truth? Saidi asks.
In the way of Mother Turtle scrambling, clawing her way ashore
Scribbling long forgotten messages to everyone who comes upon them,
Drawn from far reaching thunder of tumultuous
Churning of sea floor, moored in metaphor within metaphor,
Love, having no object and no face. If she is the one
Reclaiming her space in momentary time and place,
A coat of many colors, still soldered on, I still wish
To honor her, the Beloved, still belonging to the human race.