by Delaney R. Whitebird Olmo
Before the new still moon upon these
glass stars I will continue to search for them—
daughters, sisters, and mothers
whose bodies were
lacerated and abandoned beyond open fields,
bodies destroyed floating into universal skyearth
hovering before all of Coyote’s creation.
Show me damp dirt paths leading to new terrain—
guide me to the mountains formed by their spirits.
Daughters, sisters, and mothers sold into trafficking
those who continue to be abused and exploited.
ocean songs continuing to heal and call to thousands
of survivors like me, a sacrament endured
by iron laden serpentine hands.
A miwok woman asks
Her quenched tongue
Struggling to speak
Ranchers tell her
To choose between
Payment or some water,
A pregnant woman
Translates for her
Eyes welling into tears,
Gazing the surrounding
Skeletal frames beneath
The ill fitted clothes.
We tried to hunt, Ranchers
Told us “No”
One early morning in the
Orchards Ranchers gather
And Qha’s son is caught picking
Apples for his family
His hands are chopped off
As he struggles to
Continue working the same.
They pay us four cups
of wheat a day
For working in the scorching
Delaney R. Whitebird Olmo (Kashia Pomo, Yurok) is a poet living in Fresno, CA, studying Poetry in Fresno State’s MFA Program. Her work can be found in deLuge Journal, Foothill Poetry Journal, Rockdale Review, and others.