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By M.L. Smoker

The unsympathetic wind, how she has evaded me for years now,
leaving a guileless shell and no way to navigate. Once when I stood
on a plateau of earth just at the moment before the dangerous,
jutting peaks converged upon the lilting sway of grasslands, I almost
found a way back. There, the sky, quite possibly all the elements,
caused the rock and soil and vegetation to congregate. Their prayer
was not new and so faint I could hardly discern. Simple remembrances,
like a tiny, syncopated chorus calling everyone home: across
a thousand eastward miles, and what little wind was left at my back.
But I could not move. And then the music was gone.
All that was left were the spring time faces of mountains, gazing down,
their last patches of snow, luminous. I dreamed of becoming snow melt,
gliding down the slope and in to the valley. With the promise,
an assurance, that there is always a way to become bird, tree, water again.

M. L. Smoker, "Heart Butte, Montana" from New Poets of Native Nations. Copyright © 2018 by M. L. Smoker.  Reprinted by permission of M. L. Smoker.

  • Activities
  • Nature

Poet Bio

M.L. Smoker
A member of the Sioux and Assiniboine tribes, poet M.L. Smoker earned a BA at Pepperdine University and an MFA at the University of Montana, where she received the Richard Hugo Memorial Scholarship. Influenced by John Steinbeck, James Welch, and Philip Levine, Smoker composes free verse poems that focus on personal struggle and identity and engage Native American history, language, and culture. Smoker lives in Helena, Montana, where she works in the Indian Education Division of the Office of Public Instruction. See More By This Poet

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