p?ežúta wicháša/visions of thunder

p?ežúta wicháša/visions of thunder
this is the land the lakota have blest
a wind of warmth, a dry rustle of red dirt
(we pray for mud in spring ––
a cool mud which will cake onto hooves and coat them through summer)
july when the crickets are enthusiastic
and the sun neighborly.

rays are tangible and despite altitude, the air heavy.
we drily cry for solace
and the land responds.
the mountain man chants as he guides us down to the cave ––
rhymes of ancient spirits
energies of the past
(land loaden with legacy ––
history river-flows into the present)
songs to echo:
we are the weaver,
we are the web
–– and we are knitted together by this call.
we are the response the land is looking for.

the mountain man has asked permission for our journey:
he spent his dawn out in pasture,
conversing with the medicine man still labyrinthed in the rocks.
in the pasture the grass is grown over, is breaching its boundaries of lithic time.
creation carves limitlessly and the holy man consents.

a long downward trek
to reach the cave.
calves cut and arms scratched with pine,
we have known odyssey.
bristles and branches wave like proud flags to announce our arrival,
the goal of pilgrimage.
o! this wall sings our same melody.
o! the cool stone welcoming to our touch.
palming the protrusions of the wall,
stepping onto the natural footholds ––
we behold the chamber! –– the design of shamans.
we burn sage and purify the scar of our rocky shelter.
and with that cleansing we grow silent;
our cavern grows full as the last of the explorers climb in.
time and breathing cease and
we are enclosed with the etchings of the tribesmen,
the whittlings of wise men.
we run fingers through the spirals,
engraved symbols of heyók?a ––
upside down, not time nor force can contain this hero ­­­––
stone-scored bolts, witches, birds.
from our grottoed stillness
we look out to see a shock of lightning and
a low bird soaring towards us,
scaling down the brow
to pay his respects to the cave.
we hear laughter from above.
o! you wise contrarian.

Rose Miles, Age 18 Grade 12, Saint Anns School, Silver Key

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