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Long Dusty Memories
by Sharmagne Leland-St. John

I told him I invited him
to come home with me
from the pow wow
only so I could drive the long dusty miles
in the diamond lane

but it was really because I was skin hungry
and I lost myself in his Coca-Cola eyes
and the way he made the drum mimic
my mothe
r’s heartbeat

I was enamoured of the way the wind whistled
through his lips when he sang
the Cherokee Morning Song

his wild mustang mane
a dark roiling river flowing
down his brown back
the waist long hair
with a scent of sweet grass
lingering there

he was born of thunder and rain
in the Badlands
this warrior who lured me back to my culture
with the taste of wasna
tart from the wild chokecherries
he pounded in the mortar
sweet from the pemmican and lard

the day we gathered sage
from the hillsides in Agoura
the prayers we made

it was the memory of cedars
the cry of the eagle as she plunged
into rapids deep and wide

it was April and the cottonwoods were still bare

it was the way he made me open like a lotus
the way he made me blossom like a teenage girl

but he was too complicated…
a safe I had no desire to crack

Autumn 2011


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