Allison Adelle Hedge Coke ‘16

                    for oceti sakowin

It was prayer, song, gathering morning
horses nuzzling each breaklight day.
Bullet rubber in my cheek, I pretended water,
tasted, relief.

No, I am not broken
though numbers blight my forearm
show in slatted light, through dog crate
bars. Indelible insinuating count, not coup,
bait, governor’s hate washed over.
Just like lake when you first drowned,
and even now nothing stills the rise and fall
of our collective careful breath. All of this
because nothing slakes thirst when water
floats fully bloated blacksnakes each tap draw.
If they kill us now

everyone who ever died to give us life,
this string beaded red / white, ends
with no beginning.

                                  No, we are rising, rise
each offense, every greed wrung motion.

dreamed this dream back when.                  We
are those before us.           Their blood our own.
Our home.          It was prayer, song, gathering.