Raven steals your name for an autumn joke:
buries you along with it under
the thickest hemlock known to chipmunks.
Too bad you were awake for the event.
He accuses you of asking all
the wrong questions over and over.
You attempt revolt to prove his medicine
wheel is cracked and filling up its own pit.
He hollers your face is unmasked and madness
has found a home. All stink and rotten fur,
he says to you, claims you had a choice
and forgot what it was. Now he says
your pain must run for the river,
the river for the wind.
He chuckles and the dark chatters, turning
you around until your shadow is the earth’s.
Duane Niatum, “The Dice Changer” from Drawings of the Song Animals: New and Collected Poems. Copyright © 1991 by Duane Niatum. Reprinted by permission of Holy Cow! Press.
Source: Drawings of the Song Animals: New and Collected Poems (Holy Cow! Press, 1991)