for Juane Quick-to-See Smith


Deep bellied world:

a prairie of saw blades and sweetgrass

skeleton fish who crossed realms

rice kernels and elk antlers,

all watered by manidoog—tempestas

and noodin spirits, these sky relatives

who answer red willow bark prayers.


 i=ndigo lines:

(how they feather brush and conjure

animate geometry of angle, arc, of spiral;

how color sacreds each relative—

each broken

a wing palette of translucence.) 

primordial genealogy:

(makwa indodem, the climb of corn plants,

bee buffalo raccoon branch lightning—

each mothed starred and furred

holy the hooved the leafed the four-winged kin.)


How we story: water // bodies

crow and messenger shadows, Memegwesiwug.

Each feast, spirit plate, offering of aseema

a follow—how lines of pencil smoke lift like music,

scent and conjure mino-bimaadiziwin.

transform into animaled eyes masks claws. Into crossings:

no lock, no chain of being—only this blue brush


of likeness.