The crane arabesques over the gray glass water
and Medicine Man flies with him,
hair dark like ink as he dons his coat of feathers.
Powhatan’s secrets of maize and drums
spill like pearls from Chesapeake oysters
and all the world is in song, chanting
the funeral dirge of a dying summer-
the Corn Man rises in the fields midst beans and squash.
If I could write a song for my people
it would be one of blood and chains,
of reservations and cropped hair,
of the White Man’s God and our Thunder Beings
battling on high for this sacred land.
Iroquoi warriors, red like the poppy, blazed
in heaven as they warred against the angels,
fighting the onslaught of the colonists
who forced us away from our families and traditions
with guns that pealed like Hell’s church bells-
Hell, such a strange notion. We have no Hell,
except the one White Man created.
Corn Man weeps and tends to our graves.
Did Pocahontas weep alone at night?
Abducted by the English and wed to John Rolfe,
like our sacred tobacco stolen and farmed for gold,
mass-produced by Rolfe in an insult to the Great Spirit.
They tamed her like the pipe plant, our Matoaka,
no longer a woman of the corn.
I sing of forgotten places, of the sacred that we lost.
Corn Man, you are ground into dust.