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(For my Cherokee great-grandmother)
by Ed Bennett
Some days I can feel your breath
in the rustle of brown paged documents
where I seek a hidden trace or revelation
from so many generations removed.
I heard your name in childhood
from hushed voices in other rooms
sharing drinks and laughter
over great-grandma's legend.
You were my dream that night,
drawn from purloined snippets
of grown up conversation hidden
like coins beneath my pillow.
You have been erased from us,
turned from flesh to whisper,
invisible as the wind
yet part of me, contained in every vein.
Mother of wind, my blood, my breath
sit with me as I glean these records
where the pieces of your life lie open
for me to take and place on your bones.
My old life falls from me like leaves
in an autumn gust of anxious change,
to take this legacy of fire and drum
from someone gone to someone resurrected
You are part of me, a shaman's cry,
the breath of change roiling my soul
like the angel's finger in Siloam's pool
embraced with the chant of eagle voices.
Bless the whispers of my childhood,
Mother of the Spirit Wind,
that restored my blood
with the songs of my lost people.