Sing your death song and die
like a hero going home.
— Chief Tecumseh
I will miss the moon’s silver touch,
its exquisite sorrows
shimmering the sky like tears.
I have listened to the voices of trees,
the double-edged language of men,
sounds buried deep in the night
where I planted a dozen loved ones,
held cold winter wind in my arms,
kissed lips of ice.
Lessons slipped among canticles
of coin, pill and scalpel. I’ve walked
into fire, danced with snakes,
praised the hunger moon
and the weeping black river,
faced the lies I’ve told myself.
When summer fell, I carried the sun
on my back, its warm hands
on my shoulders, my breasts.
I let its heat caress
my body with life
but never bore its child.
Lift me to your dark silken wing;
show me what lies beyond sleep,
behind your hidden gate.