To Some Few Hopi Ancestors


Wendy Rose

No longer the drifting 
and falling of wind 
your songs have changed, 
they have become 
thin willow whispers 
that take us by the ankle 
and tangle us up 
with red mesa stone, 
that keep us turned 
to the round sky, 
that follow us down 
to Winslow, to Sherman, 
to Oakland, to all the spokes 
that have left earth's middle. 
You have engraved yourself 
with holy signs, encased yourself 
in pumice, hammered on my bones 
til you could no longer hear 
the howl of the missions 
slipping screams through your silence, 
dropping dreams from your wings.

Is this why 
you made me 
sing and weep 
for you?
Like butterflies made 
to grow another way 
this woman is chiseled 
on the face of your world. 
The badger-claw of her father 
shows slightly in the stone 
burrowed from her sight 
facing west from home.
From: Wendy Rose. "To Some Few Hopi Ancestors" from Academic Squaw (Blue Cloud Press, 1977). Copyright ©1977 by Wendy Rose. Poem reprinted by permission of the author.

As printed in Larry Evers, ed. The South Corner of Time. Tucson, Ariz.: The University of Arizona Press, ©1980, p. 38.