I had a teacher who was a weekend archeologist.
She brushed the ground for Native leftovers . . .
a form of human interaction. She affirmed:
“I don’t study any Indian under three hundred years old.”
I told her I was a poet. Her eyes subdued by inquisition,
her question scraped me slightly . . .
“You mean like Byron, Shelley or Keats?”
“No, not quite,” I said . . . “I’m alive.”
My sole proof of humanness is that I create.
I can’t determine what will be smothered, what will erode
or resist burial and rise from the soil protruding
like noncurrent bones forming fingers,
fingers of swimming hands,
swimming in soil-waves.
Can’t say if brushes will dust my words
as proof of signs of life and standing the test of time.
Like my Native blood,
poetry is a live fish, un-caught.
The watchers around me are Baudelaire, Blake and Bly;
Shaman and Storyteller. Just to be alive with a found soul
is all the test I have time for.
We are bones swimming in soil-waves,
we emerge with a sunken jewel -
that’s all the test we have time for.