I’m an original
born to this land
my first blood
watered the native Michigan rivers

red cardinal song
my after birth
seeded Flaming aboriginal Maple trees

I left my rubber soles
by that particular road
and carried a carved wood flute
to the circle of elms

we knew each other's names
and they never wavered
never struck
never dressed in rage

they whispered my true names
my land names
my wind names

they grew skin
like desert canyon walls

they sheltered nests
of baby mice in their roots

they stitched together
the marrow of my bones
threaded with the blood
of my Russian Cossack Grandfathers

who invaded
 the Polish farms
of my Grandmothers

all escaped
across an ocean

into gang fights
factories, and fur coats
in the Detroit bar they founded

but I seek the amnesty of trees
to feather my bones

indigenous of earth
my hands
open to the dark soil
the light full crystalline moon

my brothers stayed to wear
the two right shoes of righteousness

they see my branches
as enemy

but I was born to this land
I marry willows
and bear children each spring

I synthesize the sun into shelter
for all my relations
I bury the word them
in the earth

with the seeds
of other
until they sprout
as us

not woman
not poet
not crossed
not voter
not veiled
not stoned
not alone

we return sky spacious
indigenous cells

not the few

but all


(1st Place Award: National Poetry Federation Winner’s Circle 2016. Published in Encore Anthology)