Magazine September 30, 2019, Issue

If I Were Present at the Tribal Blessing

(Joshua Lott/Reuters)

(for Melissa)

Had I been present when those pastors blessed
The Tahlequah tribe, my sister by my side,
I would have held her hand with left palm, dried
My wet cheek with the right — her joyous guest.
In Sunday best, she’d be so sweetly dressed,
Even the roses round her would have cried,
And closed their petals shamefully and died,
In hopes she would collect them, to be pressed
Within some cherished book upon her chair.
That luncheon over, and the leaders gone,
If she and I were privy to their prayer,
We, also, would have risen and withdrawn,
With powers of a reunited pair —
Half of a sorority whereupon
No Native grace

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