CROW AND THE THREE SISTERS
Broken Crow looked out the window
the year the eaglet died.
Almost body-less, so well hidden
from neighbors, dragged herself
from room to room in the house
of no light.
She would be Summer muffled by clouds.
Word sounds, a gagged mouth,
bone and muscle of a hand curled
and drawn back, an arrow
dipped in weakness coming at her.
Other sounds, like whimpers,
the forest after lightning strikes,
just before flames leak out of the damage.
She would be Summer
in the corner, raining once again, each punch
bringing her closer to Bear,
who is Autumn,
running across the hillside,
gazing at the burning leaves,
shaking out her lovely wild coat,
shoulders the muscle of night.
Always knowing her territory,
Bear gathers details, noting
each piece from the eagle tree,
fields, swallow nests, blueberry bushes.
Earth's scientist, and lover.
Bear leans her paws
against Crow's screen door. And Crow,
looking and looking and weighing her life,
takes a chance, touches the screen back.
And something begins to come back to her,
begins to stir inside. Autumn's tourmaline eyes
offer back her reflection.
Crow opens the door. Autumn stays
for a time sitting in the living room,
feet up on the sofa. They go to her den,
sip tea, lick honey off the spoon.
Through many nights Autumn's voice
comes steady as granite, honest
as sparrows, begins to change her.
Bear rumbles off into the wood
bringing back another season, Winter.
Hair of snow and eyes, stars in the grass.
It takes the beaten to recognize the wounds,
the violated, to speak languages only victims
utter. Thus Winter came quiet and pure to cover
the ground so Crow could see the Earth as
something different. Fallow at rest,
safe in the hands of higher law.
Winter transformed herself into Peacock,
stepping lightly across the floor, righting
the fallen lamp, straightening the rug,
listening, giving gifts of wisdom;
where to go, who to call, how to run,
how to fight.
Peacock moved off in a soft blur,
came back later with the next season.
Spring was a breath pulled from the Earth
and the sea. She covered Crow in branches
and feathers, bringing her to the next life,
teaching, pointing the way.
Spring stayed forever it seems this year.
Relentless mother of rain, fiery storm-laden,
full of flight then blended into Bobcat slipping into silence,
prayers lifting from her face.
And the seasons, flowed over Crow's body
like water, sun, silence, laughter, like snow, pure and
undefiled, teaching her she was more than
a scream caught on the oak's limbs;
brought her down like something soft,
ready, like a baby in the season's arms.
The house of wind has always been
a mystery, seasons are chapters
we follow. Bear glances back
at Crow, Peacock glides out the window,
Bobcat looks up as clouds fall into
Then thunder tears open Crow's heart
into Young Eagle, she watches the animals
gather into a single vision:
Three Sisters suddenly rise up, opening themselves
Into black wings, reach toward the eagle tree,
veer off, go sideways
into doorways of her forever.
"for the Three Sisters, with deepest gratitude;
AJL, Jingles, and Mishi
who saved my life.
c2011 T.L.Stokes (all rights reserved)
c2011 boonibarb/barb biagi (photography all rights reserved)