niso

pichiw

1. i am constantly chasing a feeling that i think i felt once before.  i feel it in the wind sometimes.

2. my body is my biggest enemy, and yet it is where i look inside for protection.  i want to tie cedar

boughs to my ribs for a roof, line my spine with pine needles, and use my lungs for a sleeping

bag.  i want to fill my heart with straw so i have something comfortable to lay my head upon.

3. i am from where the rivers meet.  i am an amalgamation of water and neglect.  i am the coming

together of alfalfa and sweetgrass.  i am the creation of millions of words unsaid.

4. i want to bead flowers onto my skin so that i am more beautiful.

5. my kokum’s hands are small and wrinkled and folded neatly on the kitchen table. the same table

i hid under and cut my hair when i was six. the same table she sat at for three days and three

nights after my grandpa left this world.

6. her hands shuffle ratty cards as she plays solitaire on the same faded piece of table cloth that

grandpa wore down playing the same game.

7. when my mom smiles the lines in the corners of her eyes are rivers leading us back to better

times.

8. “let’s see where this can go.”

9. i probably just should have said no.

10. sukunka, kiskatinaw, sakitiwak are all words for homesick.

cipiyak nimehitowak

1. my mother never taught me how to be taken care of by another, instead she gave me a needle

and thread and taught me how to sew my own wounds.

2. “buffalo on, my girl”

3. enlightened folks keep saying vulnerability is resistance.

4. vulnerability and survival have never went hand in hand when you try and make it day by day

and i wonder if those enlightened people have ever felt a northern winter.

5. we are sitting awkwardly and he reaches out to touch me and i recoil. he is offended and starts

playing with my threadbare comforter. “i thought you liked me?” he asks. i ask him to leave.

6. i did.

7. i think decolonial love is something that is supposed to happen between sun set and sun rise,

when the spirits dance on your bedsheets.

8. nightshade berries are poisonous. or at least that’s what grandpa told me one day when we were

walkin’ through the brush. just one berry and you’re done. they’re beautiful and black, and i

wonder how something so strange could kill someone.

9. we meet up the next day, after i told him to leave, and we pass nightshade and i tell him they’re

poisonous and he say that’s a common misconception about those berries, they’re safe. i tell him

to eat one to prove it. he’s too scared.

10. the berries are sweet and bland and not poisonous at all.

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