strawberries in train oil


tender leaves bud hands
waterfall body blue-green
smooth as speckled river rocks

in the name of brilliant sky, whale is taken
while gathering details from the canoe-man’s
bone tipped lance—purified in ceremony
seal-skin bags hang full from the rafters

paddles that end in points, for self-defense
carved ovoids in wood to pass before plato’s fire
projecting human shadows on the cave wall

the dead bear is placed on a throne beside the chief
offering the bear food and drink before eating him

inside the polished cedar box—the sun’s promise
dried crusty sea salt on weathered skin
desiccated souls hang from a line
white men in wooden ships and rum
destruction in the presence of crosses and seagull circles

starfish, killed in their sleep, litter the shoreline
ceremony of seaweed, daughters traded for marriage

potlatch people return to their wooden lodges
to dream under blankets of cedar, the dream of whales

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