TROUT   [4] 

Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm
bitter root  
  today i chewed weekahn   
clearing my throat   
of this nest you built   
and abandoned   
its eggs unhatched grew cold   
and thin shells remained   
too fragile to touch   
like these empty words   
i choke on   

last night i fell asleep crying   
over the memory of the morning   
we wove a kete with our hands   
then gathered our hearts inside   
like kaimoana and your tongue was   
kina roe in my mouth   

this morning i found a dream   
tangled in the web   
overhanging my bed   
in it a river flowed   
my split lips   
from the ocean of unsaid   
words i have kept dammed   
with two feathers and a bone carefully   
carved then set in the nest in my throat   

and those waters diverted   
to the dry cracks of my barren heartland   
overflowed the fields where a whole world   
once grew   

now when i speak   
i spit up bits of broken shells   
and dead stalks and leaves   
in my mouth   

while in the distance   
the sound of rivers   


   © 1998