you have to soak the elk hide overnight.

i have a stack of half-finished love letters

that i have written to my body

that all begin and end with the same word

i’m not sure if i’m apologizing to myself

or to someone else.

you have to work the hide to make it soft

rub it together and slap it on the side of the bucket.

be rough. be forceful. be gentle.

you will know when the hide is ready.

you’ll feel it.

i have worked my skin over

and over

and over again

waiting for it to be soft enough

to stretch over

my bones.

place the wooden frame in the middle of the hide

make holes around the outside so we can begin to prepare

to stretch elk tight.

i have plucked the hair

from my head

in order to thread needles

hoping to bead flowers onto my




trying to make them works of art

next you thread deer hide strips through holes

pull hard but be gentle

as you weave

over and under

deer is not as tough as elk

but it is strong enough to pull hide tight.

watch for tears.

i have been writing love letters to my body

that begin and end

with the same word.

let the drum dry for a few days in an open space.

watch hide become hard.

listen to hide become ceremony.

when do i become soft?

your first drum is never yours.

give it away.








One Comment Add yours

  1. Your writing is so beautiful. Please keep going forever.

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