from an evolving collection entitled Temazcal: The Steam House Chronicles

Her origins speak of The Great Origin.

Hers. Ours. The many nations of the living hoop.

She starts, as all wholesome bodies-in-motion do —

like a gentle hand planting seeds.


Just above Omashkoozo-zaaga’igan

Elk Lake in the tongue of The Good Humans,

a great font begins.

Tapestry of eloquence.

Soft colors bind life to life.

Raindrop.

A distant pitch-perfect loon.

Sturgeon creates a swirl.

Crane.

Eagle.

Moose.

Beaver builds her lodge of downed birch.

A blanket-wrapped woman at the lake’s edge

offers tobacco to the dawn.


Icicles melt from branches of tamarack, balsam.

Another sounding from a lonesome loon.

A yelp, another — howls from a pack of wolves.


Dripping.

Dripping.

Collecting.

Flowing.

Lightning forks of water gathering.

Branching downward

downward

meandering

to southlands.


Flowing past acorn songs.

Birch bark stories.

Stands of sweet maple sap.

Kinnickinnic dreaming.

Flowing.

Flowing.

Flowing past Osage, Sauk-Fox —

others we don’t know the names of

but whose memory is sealed in the breath of the wind.

Flowing down past Effigy Mounds.

Concealing mammoth bones, muskets dropped long ago.


Flowing.

Flowing

like extending arms

downward.

Downward.

Scooping up shifting sands.

Horseshoe lakes.

Oxbow islands.

Unseen currents below

carrying prayers from two-thousand years ago.



(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound:excerpt from Lost Songs From The Endless River / Roy Mattson

image: Lena Rose


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