By Lois Red Elk
for my granddaughter, Wahcawin
I didn’t want to scold the sky that year, but
Grandma’s words taunted my senses. If there
is a thirst, then you need to pity the flowers
in a loud voice. Ask the frogs why they are
being punished, stomp on the ground and talk
to the dried clay about cracking open the earth.
I know challenging the storm is risky. “Last
but not least, burn cedar and pray the lightning
doesn’t strike your town.” That night, the stars
disappeared, so did the birds. Perhaps it was
the season for rain or the dance. In the western
distance, we thought we heard cannon blasts,
looking over we watched the horizon fill with
lightning strikes. Rain couldn’t pour hard enough
over the thirsty plain. Accompanying clouds,
called to thunder’s voice in extreme decimals
requesting all the water heaven could send forth,
to come. Rain and more rain filled empty stream
bottoms. Rivers who had pulled their dry banks
farther and farther from their center begged for
a drink to startle dusty beds with a flooding roar.
Lives in dormant places begin to stir and awaken.
The lives of water beings, those that swim, the
ones that hop, and the ones that fly, begin to stir.
That year all thirst was quenched.
Lois Red Elk, "All Thirst Quenched" from Dragonfly Weather. Copyright © 2013 by Lois Red Elk. Reprinted by permission of Lost Horse Press.
More Poems about Nature
Listening in Deep Space
We've always been out looking for answers,
telling stories about ourselves,
searching for connection, choosing
to send out Stravinsky and whale song,
which, in translation, might very well be
our undoing instead of a welcome.
We launch satellites, probes, telescopes
unfolding like origami, navigating
geomagnetic storms, major disruptions.
At the Equinox
The tide ebbs and reveals orange and purple sea stars.
I have no theory of radiance,
but after rain evaporates
off pine needles, the needles glisten.
In the courtyard, we spot the rising shell of a moon,
More Poems about Relationships
Mommy always wanted
To be famous
She would have us (my sister and me)
In all the talent shows
But I could not carry the harmony
Then she had me
Though The Isley Brothers
Ronald’s sweet voice and Vernon
Doing “the Itch”
Sort of like Michael Jackson
my dead grandmother’s young
Japanese maple was uprooted stolen
last week scattered leaves crushed
under a stranger’s foot. to recover