Context: I wrote this poem several years ago, and have updated it for a summer pedagogy fellowship. I thought I would share the poem here, yet, you can find the audio version here – along with an explanation of the project.
The taste of soap lingers in my mouth,
all because I spoke my language.
The pain in my back holds onto my spine,
reminding me of a time I ran for my safety from the men in silver.
My throat feels hollow.
I am unable to scream.
I could not save my grandparents. But maybe they could save me.
I am a broken existence.
Taped and glued together.
Daydreaming of a time when there was vitality in my body.
Living and breathing along a skeletal structure of both mind and spirit.
Who I am is traumatic.
It echoes throughout my soul. Resonates in my blood.
Disconnecting and linking us through time and space.
My only escape is our dreams.
In my dreams, I see a place.
Mountains in each of the directions,
Vibrating in colored hues.
White in the East,
Blue to the South,
Yellow in the West,
And Black to the north.
Fields of corn, squash, and beans,
the three sisters, stretch & reach for the sky.
Blooming and bountiful.
In my dreams, I hear the ancestors.
They whisper to me stories,
I hear their songs and their laughter.
I feel the warmth of a dimming fire.
Throughout the night teachings are shared.
Their heart beats.
In my dreams, I feel the rhythms.
A vibration in the land,
It echoes throughout the canyon.
Waiting for us to dance and shapeshift.
In my dreams, I smell cedar, tobacco, and sage.
Mixing and mingling, the smoke reaches for my nostrils.
Filling and feeding my body,
blessing my entirety.
In my dreams, I taste freedom,
It’s all gone.
The three sisters.
No, I can still hear their voices.
I can still feel the vibrations of the land.
I can still…
They reach for me, bypassing my traumatic body,
Finding something deeper within,
Older than God himself, it stirs.
Ancient and Immortal.
Powerful and Beautiful.
Brilliant and sentient.
In my ancestors’ dreams, I am still there,
and now, I am.