Black River


By Marike Stucky

In the beginning, little ones,
 Sky Woman dreamt of white blossoms plucked by darkness.
 She was ripe with child and
 was terrified.

The Tree of Life ripped from the threshold
 between water and sky,
 a cavernous void.

She fell.

Delicate fingers clutched at earth, at seedlings
 She tumbled into the abyss, hair streaming behind; black river.

 Creatures of flight
 cradled the poor girl in their great wings
 laid her gently upon the shell of Grandmother Turtle
 black river kissing the mosaic clean.

Among the animals, only Muskrat could dive so deep
(the others settling in caskets of water, absent of light)
to collect the earth that would allow the world’s first heartbeat to beat.

A soaked paw grasping at human life.

Ripe to bursting
Sky Woman gave birth
a new daughter
and West Wind descended as an arrow shot from a bow and
plucked the white blossom from Sky Woman’s new daughter.

Seedlings grow, seedlings grow
You hold power in those hands, my little ones.

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