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For Frank Sage
When he could first see sky
Through the smokehole in the roof
He got up from bed.
He had been dreaming
Of yellow pollen touched to tongue
And over top.
Pollen smeared fingers.
Facing east, prayer in song.
Ashes someone had carried out
Before the sun came up.
Ashes carried out early
Might gain blessing,
If it weren't for the crows
Flying overhead busy with their gossip.
Like hooves of sheep stirring up dust.
He dreamt of designs growing steadily hour by hour
Cradleboards leaned against looms.
Boys tending flocks roaming restlessly for so little grass,
While all day the sun burns dry land like feet toward fire.
He was tough with deep roots.
Red walls a thousand feet high,
Huge rock towers and spires carved by wind.
He was something like wood scratched by a bear
Tree struck by lightening.
He ran hard to be strong
So the sun would answer his prayers.
He sang to the corn like children
Remembered stones from sweathouses.
He was dreaming of prayersticks
Filled with coal and turquoise,
Tobacco and pollen,
Ends plugged with feathers.
Of walking again in beauty.
© Melissa Fry Beasley
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