Sometimes the drums keep me
awake at night, vibrate through
my flesh like spirits pleading
for recognition, lost ancestors
that linger in memory.
I envision my roots
tangled in the calcite of Grandpa’s bones
that crumble with the tale of desertion
and the true surname he forgot to share
with anyone, just a hint that he was born
in a valley on the Great Plains.
It was there that a medicine man
said Grandpa was born at Cherry Creek
beneath the canvas of a covered wagon.
He said that my blood
carried history like thunder.
Oonchi, 84 and wounded by patterns
of alcoholism and shame, carried
stones in her arms for the ceremony.
She never called me Wasicu, but sent
me to Sundance with a prayer to Wakan Tanka.
I went to the reservation a white woman
guessing, but came away with a hint
of the history, an awareness of why
sometimes the drums keep me.