Living On, a prose sonnet
Indian Canyon, Agua Caliente Reserve 1992
- From a waterfall 12 feet straight down, into two feet of water 2. Swept off like leaves ready to die 3. Never thought about death then. Never thought about life then. All the same to me 4. Carried to safety by a Paiute, a slung sack on his back. Now a piece of him, he’s me too just that way; how I think of it. Carry me, I carry you 5. The tee shirt you took off your back I wear like you wore me. American Indian Dance Theater. 6. I dance. I sway and stomp like the wind trees or the river that caught me. 7. Live on or die. 8. Be Indian. Be not Indian. You don’t get to decide. 9. If you break a bone, pray for all other bones. You will heal 4 people that way. 10. One of them will heal you. 11. The river didn’t want to feel so empty that day. 12. Wanted to fill itself with something that needed healing. 13. Indian Canyon ceremony, sweat running like the river. 14. Grandmothers and Grandfathers yielding to fire. Me — natal, naked, and ready to live on.
Meander, a prose sonnet
— after J Donna Asmusson
From dream to dream she wanders, looking into sleeping faces
for her own kind, meandering from dark into light with a growl,
sad Coyote spirit waiting for a vole or squirrel to rest a bit against
new snow, vulnerable, distracted by the dream wafting from your
ears. She misses the kill that would save her for one more day. Still
she’s promised your safety. Guide, teacher, protector hovered in air
at the edge, waiting just beyond, watching where you might stumble,
where your foot would be snared — if she’d not promised to take care.
Carol Willette Bachofner has been writing all her life, beginning at age six when she scratched her first poem into the sand in York, Maine. After raising a large family and traveling the western world, Carol earned her MFA in Poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2004. Since then she has published four collections of poetry, most recently Native Moons, Native Days (Bowman Books 2012). Her work has been widely published and anthologized including Dawnland Voices: An Anthology of Indigenous Writing From New England (University of Nebraska Press 2014). Bachofner serves as poet laureate of the City of Rockland, Maine, and.in April of 2016, she will direct a poetry festival during Poetry Month Rockland. Selected by Maisha Z. Johnson.