EDITOR’S CHOICE AWARD
BY Linda Scheller
Before they came, we feathered
the dawn with songs for our mother
who births the world and bends to bless
her kin. The trees and streams spoke to us
and taught us how to dance. I remember how
we told the flames our dreams and oldest stories
lofted to the ancestors with every fire-tossed spark.
Now my dreams are shallow and tainted with salt.
Trapped beneath earth, the scent of my son’s skin,
the rhythm of breath from the man I chose
They came on horseback and killed all our children,
our elders, our men. Their chief portioned us out
like meat to his warriors. We are nothing now
but sex horses. We must bear their young,
carry their burdens, shadow their steps,
beg their mercy, dodge their fists.
None dare speak of the past.