carry forward

she is rigid as a crevice cut into a mountain

side without any hand holds or a place

for a foot to climb further reaching

for those caressing clouds


when i touch her

she is ice covered, my fingers slip

off her shoulders as i long to hold

her close, feel her heartbeat next to mine

once again


when i tell her that i love her

it echoes off bouncing

around to the far reaches, drowning

in the downwind


when i dream of her

she swaddles me and plays patty-cake

pushes me on a swing and only the wind knows perfection

in this moment

mother and daughter equals unconditional love

it turns though, this dream


hands grip around her wrists, dragging her away

from me, from her self

and what she sees now is only an image of once was

now lost forever behind walls

in little rooms with little beds with little books with pages torn out of them

secrets scribbled on thin paper


when i see her, standing with a smoke in her mouth

my eyes are steady, I whisper


i am the constant flow of water

warm to the skin


i am the pumping of the blood

rhythm wraps around bones


i am the breath of the wind

hair knows flight is possible


i am the body that seeks

to quench this love

with no more words

but something more like the tobacco that burns

smoke wraps around us and as it fades

it clings in our hair, our clothes, and soaks into our spirit

giving us it’s breath

and this is when we remember


how we used to carry saamaa in our hands

speaking prayers into this medicine

offering saamaa to gchi gzhemindo

our blood are rivers that we travel

back in time on birch bark canoes

we gather all that we need

not only to survive but to forge forward together

with saamaa – tobacco in our hands

zaagaa – love in our hearts

noongwa – today in our minds


this is the strength that we need

when we hold our old ones

their bodies will melt in our embrace

as saamaa whispers around us

we remember the children they were

and help carry them forward.


2 thoughts on “carry forward

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