i stand

i have a great plains laugh

it floats across the prairie and collides with the rockies

who then echo it to me but it sounds different

it says: remember where you were born

i was the desert child, the sagebrush serenader, the coyote caller

rendezvous with the cheyenne

and the other little girls put ribbons in your hair

i tattooed a dreamcatcher on my arm

the feathers pointing in each direction

so that i can always find my way home

to the place where my father stood and said,

today is a good day to die

i knew sitting bull before sitting pretty

and images of bareback warriors protecting the tribe

lulled me to sleep in the thud of the wild mustangs hooves

i have crossed deserts, meadows, mountains, and oceans

to get away from my white (wo)man’s burden

drowning my trail of tears in firewater

but there you stand

speaking for the mother whose voice we can no longer hear

once again saying,

this is not yours

she is not ours

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