The Crane Wife

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.



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