Artist of the West: Western Versatility

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Photo by Ryan Turner

Back 40

Written by M.L. Smoker  

M.L. Smoker

Other Contributions

Back 40
June 2016

We Are the Ones 
for Dezmond


A syllable: forming,
generating energy in small, dark masses: marrow, stem cell, neuron.
Waiting to come alive again in this tiny body.
Guwa — you should learn this is the word between you and I, 
my son, hokshina.   
                              Come here. Come home. To this place. Between you and I
no separation. But always room. And silence — until
we can find meaning and the words together.
I repeat it, again and again, gesturing for you to come over. Hoping
the vibrations will come alive, you will listen inside yourself. And you will sense
just who you are, who you belong to and among.
As if you were under water and could feel your pulse,
the whir and swish of your blood traveling miles and miles.
          Across the wind-blown graves of your great grandparents and their grandparents —
Mikushi, Mitugash — yours.  And they are out there, belonging to you before 
you were even born. Waiting.