Monthly Archives: August 2017

BEFORE

deer kachina

Before my parents divorced twice over the Vietnam War,

Before my Mom left us in Southeast Asia for 2 years when I was 10,

Before we reunited with her in Crested Butte when I was 12,

Before I was living alone in a trailer when I was 14,

Before my academic scholarship to college, which I nearly lost a few times,

Before I was homeless in New York City,

Before Mom’s┬ábreast cancer came back after John died,

Before she fingered the soft nightgowns I bought her at Saks Fifth Avenue,

Before those nightgowns were stolen her first day in county hospice,

Before we spread her ashes in the Sierras on a December morning,

Before my own breast cancer last year,

Before all of these things and so much more,

A Hopi man near Flagstaff looked into my 8 year old eyes and said:

I am watching you.

And so I carved this kachina for you.

A deer kachina full of deer medicine.

You are young but you have never been a child.

You are brave with the gentleness of deer.

And the strength of deer fills you.

It is a harder road you are on but you are not alone.

The ancestors are always with you.

They see your light.

They see your heart.

Remember that.

And know they are smiling.

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