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2010 selections

Ira Joel Haber

Ellen Rix

LANGUAGE CLASS


(written on Qualla Boundary; for C.M.)



Little by little

we are reclaiming the words

Just as the land was once large,

so, too, our voice

Some words lost on the Trail

have been found

They lived hidden in baskets,

in pockets, in the very tassels of corn

(Selu, Selu)

Now the words live again

See? When I say nogwo it is now,

both the now of then and the now

of not yet

The words work secret medicine

and strong, forming us

from the inside out

Language is our Magic Lake--

we walk in limping with loss

and emerge wholly ourselves

When Cecilia speaks

she bears with her

the future of these sounds

Listen: her voice is soft, but sure



Kimberly L. Becker


Self-portrait:



under a yellow crayon sun—


between trees of green scalloping on tall brown trunks—


her daughter: a tiny figure on spiky grass


contextualized, she said, within a greater world


understanding you are not the center


the other girls balloon from the belly of their page.


round cheeks press the rectangle, splurge off the edge


triangle skirts let their corners drip


my mother found them fat, entitled


the sun does not figure here


neither do the trees




Ana C. H. Silva

Ritual:  The Second Day is Monday



for a mother alone, the kiss of dusk begins a second shift. haul flour not water. bake bread and biscuits for the week. her words fill the empty spaces between the lines of recipe. learn to pay them no mind, chile. we gotta get along the best we can. between syllables, Joshua sifts flour, holds the red knob of the gray metal sifter. the only thing of substance he can hold onto in the kitchen. flour disappears in a puff; reappears in his hair, on face, hands, floor, table. never in the bowl. He sees her arms swollen from hanging the day’s wet sheets. he senses her ache. he volunteers to knead dough, watches it rise twice, the way she does morning and night. tomorrow they will laugh when her homemade peach preserves slide through the holes of dough not beaten enough. still rises up, joins forces, fights back as an army. this son, this mother, they talk survival in between the lines of a town’s recipe for know-your-place. she always tells him, remember, the foxes is always schemin to bring ya down. but ya got to rise, son, like yeast – rise.



E.J. Antonio

(44)


the wind blew my house down

so I moved into a sailboat

the wind messed my hair up

so I cut it all off

the wind made my eyes water

so I took up a collection for the sea

the wind threw the clouds out

so I threw wet cotton balls on my ceiling

the wind raised my skirt up

so I mooned it and got arrested

there was no wind in jail



Kelli Stevens Kane

Ira Joel Haber

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