They haven’t plowed the circle in Schiller Park
but I am walking the path sunk in snow
by others, humans, dogs, the grey-hoodie guy
behind me with an aging beagle, walking round
and round together. Schiller said joy is the wheel
that drives everything, but he also said poor
suffering masses, so I say rage is the fire
burning in the furnace of our bodies, we go
round and round looking for justice, our feet
melting through ice, snow, down to asphalt
road bed, no rest, my bare feet dug into the dirt
overgrown logging road by the river, the way
to the shallow ford where my people settled,
a deep trace made by other people warred on,
displaced by force, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek.
Justice means knowing what’s underneath.
At the neighborhood mart, the cashier admires
my necklace as she rings me up, dragonfly,
green fire fanning its spark above the river,
and dangles her charm, wolf clan, she says,
a silvered sliver of the past she’s still living.
The past is not the past. Down New York 90,
farmers post No Sovereign Nation two miles
from Goi-O-Guen, Cayuga Castle, burned
in 1779 by U.S. troops, already town destroyers,
the village now a pasture domed with snow.
The beginning of justice is to know what is

For more on the history underneath,
go to:

Also on this day in 1915, the U.S. House of Representatives denied
women the right to vote. But in the Central New York area, women's
power in continuing Native nations had long been documented by
Syracuse historian Matilda Joslyn Gage:

Minnie Bruce Pratt

Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivs
Creative Commons 2010

1 comment:

  1. This is beautiful. I love the interconnectedness of your words, how your experience in one place harkens back to your experiences in so many others.

    I've been wanting to access your earlier poems for a while, but for some reason, Facebook isn't displaying your notes publicly. It keeps telling me that if I want to access anything other than your profile page, I have to add you as a friend. I was reluctant to do so, as we had never met, and I thought you might have put the confidentiality settings in place for personal reasons.

    Thanks again for sharing your words with us; they are deeply inspiring to me at a rather difficult time.