Fall 2021

Dear Ancestors,

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.

Four Cups

A miwok woman asks
For water

Her      quenched tongue
Struggling to speak

Broken      English,
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
summer sun.

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. 

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Fall 2021