Words And Places native literature from the american southwest

Running on the Edge of the Rainbow: Laguna Stories and Poems
Leslie Marmon Silko


Indian Song: Survival

We went north
               to escape winter
climbing cliffs
               we paused to sleep at the river.

Cold water river cold from the north
I sink my body in the shallow
               sink into sand and cold river water.

You sleep in the branches of
               pale river willows above me.
I smell you in the silver leaves, mountainlion man
               green willows aren't sweet enough to hide you.

               he is warmer than any man.
I have slept with the river and
               I heard ice on the cattails.
At sunrise

Mountain lion, with dark yellow eyes
               you nibble moon flowers
               while we wait.
I don't ask why do you come
               on this desperation journey north.

I am hunted for my feathers
I hide in spider's web
               hanging in a thin grey tree
          above the river.
In the night I hear music
          song of branches, dry leaves scraping the moon.
          and I know he is waiting.

Green spotted frogs sing to the river

Mountain lion shows me the way
           path of mountain wind
climbing higher
               up to Cloudy Mountain.

It is only a matter of time, Indian
               you can't sleep with the river forever.
Smell winter und know.
I swallow black mountain dirt
               while you catch hummingbirds
                trap them with wildflowers
                  pollen and petals
                  fallen from the Milky Way

You lay beside me in the sunlight
               warmth around us and
               you ask me if I still smell winter.
Mountain forest wind travels east and I answer:
               taste me,
                  I am the wind
               touch me,
                  I am the lean, grey deer
               running on the edge of the rainbow.

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Running on the Edge of the Rainbow: Laguna Stories and Poems

By This Song I Walk: Navajo Songs | Seyewailo: The Flower World Yaqui Deer Songs | The Origin of the Crown Dance: An Apache Narrative and Ba'ts'oosee: An Apache Trickster Cycle | Iisaw: Hopi Coyote Stories & Hopi Songs | Natwaniwa: A Hopi Philosophical Statement | Running on the Edge of the Rainbow: Laguna Stories and Poems | Songs of My Hunter Heart: Laguna Songs and Poems | A Conversation with Vine Deloria, Jr. | Home