Days of Grass by Catherine Chandler

As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
(Psalm 103:15-16)

i. Sanguinaria canadensis

Long ago you married an English settler
who had come to live in Lenapehoking.
Was your clan the Turtle, the Wolf, the Turkey?
He called you Sarah.

When he saw you down by the river, was your
long black braid entwined with a length of snakeskin?
Did you wear a necklace of shell and feather,
earrings of bear claw?

Did you speak Unami or Munsee? Did you
forage in the fields and the woods for berries?
Did you play Pahsahëman with your sisters?
Did you have brothers?

Did you sing and dance to the bird-bone whistle,
cheeks and ears bright red with the sap of bloodroot?
Nuhëmati, all I can do is gather,
harvesting nothing.

 

 

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