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  4. Song from a Reedless Flute by Sara Littlecrow-Russell
Song from a Reedless Flute

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You are beadwork woven by a broken Indian woman
That I mend with cautious, needle-pricked fingers.
You are raw sweetness of burning chaga
Scraping my lungs and startling tears.
You are the bear claw necklace
No longer caressing
The space between my breasts.
You are cigarettes
That I quit years ago,
But sometimes smoke anyways.

You are maple syrup on snow
Melting on my tongue
Until I ache from the cold.
You are the cedar tree
Sheltering my childhood
From unwanted caresses.
You are the star blanket
Sliding off the bed on autumnal nights.
You are a stubborn braid of wiingashk
That must be relit with a dozen matches
Before it releases thin streamers of sweetness.

You are the love song
Played on a reedless flute
That only spirits hear.

Sara Littlecrow-Russell, “Song from a Reedless Flute” from The Secret Powers of Naming. Copyright © 2006 by Sara Littlecrow-Russell. Reprinted by permission of University of Arizona Press.
Source: The Secret Powers of Naming (University of Arizona Press, 2006)
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Song from a Reedless Flute

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  • Of Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe) and Han-Naxi Métis heritage, Sara Littlecrow-Russell is a lawyer and professional mediator as well as a poet. She earned a BA in medical anthropology from Hampshire College and a law degree from Northeastern University School of Law. Her collection of poetry, The Secret Powers of Naming (2006), won an Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights; it also received an Independent Publisher Book Award.
    In the tradition of Native American storytelling, which uses stories to establish meaning in the lives of both listeners and tellers, Littlecrow-Russell’s poems name and tell stories as a form of communication; her work also calls into question prevalent stereotypes of Native Americans.
    Littlecrow-Russell has worked at the Center for Education and Policy Advocacy at the University of Massachusetts and for Community Partnerships for Social Change at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts....

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