Reservation – Carol L. R. Shaw

You send me letters, the wisdom of Black Elk
the Dakota elder. Point to the scars
that have accumulated on my skin. Then point
in the four directions. Leave me spinning.

I tell you, my grandfather was a man of two skins,
a survivor of a collision of worlds. I am
a child of divided countries, offspring of cultures
that war beneath my skin, divide my limbs.

Seven years ago my doctor says I am pale,
my skin is too white, insists I keep a dream journal,
recommends a vision quest, points to the patterns
shaped across my skin.

You send me crystals in raw form, willow hoops
wrapped in leather with colored feathers.
And I recall Jung saying four is the natural
division of the circle, the symbol of totality.

A fire burns inside the round pit. I consider
the burnt out shells of branches. Ash white
and still round in their sacrifice. Study
fingertips, the roundness of stars.

Lost in reflection I drift on a bed of sage,
wait for my skin to unite and awaken me.

Carol L. R. SHAW
This is part 2 of a 3-part poem. Part 3 “Strange Medicine” appeared in 10×3 plus #1.
Carol writes of the entire 3-part poem: “My grandfather was half-Indian, his life was hard. He had what many would consider unusual ways about him.”

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