Indian Song: Survival
We went north
to escape winter
climbing pale cliffs
we paused to sleep at the river.
Cold water river cold from the north
I sink my body in the shallow
sink into sand and cold river water.
You sleep in the branches of
pale river willows above me.
I smell you in the silver leaves, mountain lion man
green willows aren’t sweet enough to hide you.
I have slept with the river and
he is warmer than any man.
I heard ice on the cattails.
Mountain lion, with dark yellow eyes
you nibble moonflowers
while we wait.
I don’t ask why do you come
on this desperate journey north.
I am hunted for my feathers
I hide in spider’s web
hanging in a thin gray tree
above the river.
In the night I hear music
song of branches dry leaves scraping the moon.
Green spotted frogs sing to the river
and I know he is waiting.
Mountain lion shows me the way
path of mountain wind
up to Cloudy Mountain
It is only a matter of time, Indian
you can’t sleep with the river forever.
Smell winter and know.
I swallow black mountain dirt
while you catch hummingbirds
trap them with wildflowers
pollen and petals
fallen from the Milky Way.
You lie beside me in the sunlight
warmth around us and
you ask me if I still smell winter.
Mountain forest wind travels east and I answer:
I am the wind
I am the lean gray deer
running on the edge of the rainbow.