By Marydale Stewart
I sent my heart, that figurative muscle,
that metaphor, that emblem,
to go in my stead to Standing Rock
where my feet have never known the steady earth,
that certain sky, the remembered places the wind has been,
where I’ve never known another living being as my own,
where the people came together
building, feeding, singing, hoping,
where grief and hope called them all together,
where they’re showing a nation how to be a nation.
I’ve been to other places where the land I stood on
spoke to me with a blackbird’s call, a silvered silent creek,
where I sheltered in the humming wind for days, nights,
and the long singing years.
Helpless I am in love and grief,
for the earth is my home, wherever I am.
Marydale Stewart is a retired English teacher and librarian. She received her Ph.D. at Northern Illinois University and taught at NIU and community colleges. She has a chapbook, Inheritance (Puddin’head Press, Chicago, 2008), and two poetry collections, Let the Thunder In (Boxing Day Books, Princeton, IL, 2014) and The Walking Man, forthcoming from Kelsay Books, Hemet, CA, October 2017. A novel, The Wanderers, is forthcoming from Black Rose Writing, Castroville, TX, also in October 2017. She has poems in a number of literary magazines.
“Standing Rock” was published in the 2017 “Refugees and the Displaced” edition of DoveTales, Writing for Peace, Ft. Collins, CO.
Photo credit: Cannupa Hanska Luger’s Mirror Shield Project at the Oceti Sakowin Camp near Standing Rock, ND, 2016