“The Reunion,” Ensign, July 1989, 47
They come from miles around—
the old, the young, the
black-haired children with laughing faces,
there on the wide-open Hopi land,
with few trees to shade them
from the heat of the summer sun;
sudden gusts of wind play tag on the dusty earth,
sweeping it up into silent crescendos,
then dancing away as quickly as they come.
I come invited from my white-man’s land
to the semi-circle of trucks, with
tailgates hanging down like huge, flat tongues
from gaping mouths.
I watch the young racers come across the
warm, dry land from the old place to here
(as tradition dictates), where they
now live in new, modern homes.
I have sat with them in their ancient kiva,
watching the purpose of life unfold
as colorful kachinas dance to the beat
of the old one’s drum.
(Now the young ones dance in a new civic center,
to the beat of loud electric guitars.)
You, my Indian daughter, have brought me
into your traditions,
as long ago I brought you into mine;
we have laughed and cried together,
we have made bread together—in your outdoor oven,
as well as in my electric one.
And again I am one with you …
I am the brown-skinned woman standing over hot stoves,
stirring thick milk gravy to be sopped up
with fat biscuits and round, flat fry-bread,
while yellow roasted corn and paper-thin piki
wait to be consumed.
I watch as you teach your young children
some of my ways and some of yours,
sweeping up silent memories
to keep them from dancing away.
We are not of one blood, but surely of one heart …
the tie that binds together those who have drifted apart.