Arrowhead - Poem by Eric Peters
Sometimes I want to know who I am she said.
I am more than the Scottish clan that gave me its name to wear.
My blood was here long before the arrival of settlers from Ontario.
The Selkirk Colony and Fort Garry were the clothes of a stranger
That covered my mother’s blood.
I often wake from strange dreams of plains
Stretching a thousand miles from east to west,
Forests in the North
And mountains rising in the West.
I wake from dreams of bison and elk,
Of wolf, rabbit, fox, and river clams,
Of wild plants - gooseberries, cherries and tall prairie grass.
I sometimes hear the names of ghosts who walk beside me –
Lakota, Dakota and Nakota Sioux, Plains Cree,
Assiniboine, Ojibway, Blackfoot, Blood, Peigan and Sarcee.
I hold bone, shell and antler fashioned into awls and scrapers,
And the point of an arrow made of stone.
Sometimes I think I know who I am she said,
And then I wake and the plains and the trees
And the mountains are gone.
The herds and solitary animals have left,
The bones and shells and antlers disappeared,
The plants crushed in the ice and mud of many lost millennium.
All gone, but the blood of my mother flowing through my chest.
And then I remember a small chipped stone
With its cutting edge close to my heart.
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