By Cedar Sigo
For Joy Harjo
How to fall asleep easily on the beach, to dig clams, to dream a net made of nettles, a medicine of marsh tea boiled out to the open air, a memory of cedar bark coiled, resting for months in cold water to be fashioned into our so-called lifestyle, clothes for ceremony as well as our dailiness, canoe bailers, diapers, we used the wood for our half-mile longhouse and totems, dried fish, a hard smoke, wooden oval plates that hooked together filled with clear oil of salmon, to wet our palates and smooth our bodies. A shawl of woolly dog (now extinct) they were bred on tiny islands we can still identify, Tatoosh Island off of Cape Flattery, where there were whaling tribes too, the Makah, one of whose villages collapsed, preserved in silt (later unearthed) and how else? Which other ceremonies or necessary edges of objects? Our ivory needles, otter pelts, mat creasers, our dances. What else do you remember dreaming of? A kind of rake to skim the waves, to catch tiny fish on rows of twisted nails.
Source: Poetry (March 2021)
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
More Poems about Social Commentaries
i love you to the moon &
not back, let’s not come back, let’s go by the speed of
queer zest & stay up
there & get ourselves a little
moon cottage (so pretty), then start a moon garden
with lots of moon veggies (so healthy), i mean
i was already moonlighting
Self-Portrait with Sylvia Plath’s Braid
Some women make a pilgrimage to visit it
in the Indiana library charged to keep it safe.
I didn’t drive to it; I dreamed it, the thick braid
roped over my hands, heavier than lead.
My own hair was long for years.
Then I became...