(after an Wabenaki song)
Look often up the river in spring at the breaking of the ice.
You may see me coming down in my canoe.
Look often when the willows thicken and yellow,
when the ferns pierce upward through the earth,
and the doe in the dense brush
is cleaning her fawn with a mossy tongue.
Look often up the river
when the birds are finding new nesting places
in the crooked old trees.
Look often, and listen
for the splash of my paddle.
I am pushing away the broken ice between us.
I am bringing many beaver skins for your father.
Look up the river
where I am rippling through the waters.
I am bringing a blanket my mother wove
with the medicine signs of our people.
I am bringing a necklace of shining stones.
At night when you’re startled awake
by the thunderous cracking of ice,
think of me in the dark on the river.
My arms are untiring
as I follow the river road to you
Dolores Stewart, from Doors to the Universe
This morning's poem is reprinted with the kind permission of the poet, Dolores Stewart Riccio. Visit her online here.