Blue’s Granpa, a dark Paiute,
was sent to government
boarding schools, that took
him far from this reservation,
that cut his hair, took away
his mother’s tongue, his ability
to resist. Now he smolders
in a corner, will not speak
when I visit, sees past me.
Or has he seen enough of me
to feel I am too white, a curse.
Will you tell me if I ask you
how Blue died? Resistance
takes forms I don’t understand.
I was Blue’s teacher…more, more;
I need to understand far more
than I do: How a quest took him
to the river to find ancestors
who would take away his anger,
show him what he needs to do,
but now he is lost to all of us.
How many days did he hang
from that tree at our river?
Did he see visions of ancestors?
Did he search for the past or future
in the mirrors of those waters?
Old man, my blood is also red.
We know more will follow him;
I refuse to believe our elders
will not be there to turn them.
I believe I see one standing
by your side, old man. His eyes
ancient pools speaking wisdom.
First appeared in OccuPoetry, Web, October, 2014