Holding and Being Held
By Your Long Journey Robe
From Siletz Back to the Other Side
Waking from our cross-continental migration,
with your Pendleton “Spirit of the Salmon” blanket
washing over us, as we imagine alevin, I feel its deep
and sky blues gulping its bled red sundown waves
floating us together. The way you said the Yachats
meets the Pacific. Fresh joining salt. Place of healing
to your people. Two of your mighty fish leap as one
up our grateful bed, their aura curves a sacred mist
finning our long passage together before the end.
Life beyond love to guide if not protect us
the rest of the dangerous way.
In our yard the gravel and mud are heaving
into peaks from frost thrusts as if our own
mountain range might erupt and spill lava
some future dirt worker might find--black
and rock hard, encasing spruce and hemlock boughs
and last year’s cones pocking the drive--shin high,
petrified around age-old sticks and stones
miniature-looking after your ancient flow, thick,
down Tillicum Beach.
Still seven feet of snow up north they say.
Deer and moose just skin and bones desperate
by the roads for the least bare sprig.
How can I tell you how ready we are for spring
how far this is from the greens along your rainy rim?
We shall wrap ourselves against this Atlantic cold
in the milled wool of your Chinook gift I’ll stitch
with your names, your smoked elk in our cells,
preserving visions of your home, tribal warm,
in the rivery chambers of our hearts
‘til our seven-foot bonnefire outside, and our house-
heating hearth flames in, jump down to fossil-long
memory of us meeting, countless migrations ago.
-- Patricia Smith Ranzoni
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