the mercy / michelle red elk

who enters birth by mercy
I recall fever
motion inflicted by sheer trance
where water declared delicate thin innocence
whole notes rotate some curled mandolin
ceremonial masks signed with native mud
strengthened until blind men see.
our medicine captured small birds
rendered in thread.
our coldest winter tormented missionary breath
sudden truth to shipwreck christened saints.
round and round fragile water
under yellow skin
somewhere beneath youth arranged in rows.
pride is an illness rising out of pain
of rich embroidered features when it rains unbending senses
fears in force
recurrent dreams.
who burned forgiveness
we are twelve recaptured enemy
with revealed sight to stand astonishing
amongst customary man
despite ambassadors who sound oil
they say dreams curtain madness.
who rode or stood motionless amid the sea
the newborn fowl are fallen fossilized
with medicine to sound in the dark
when grace presses language to song.
we were as the birds
as man and fish, flesh and scale
scaled red to red
where language is unlettered
untented we shall not feel force
we stand crowned spearmen
gathering notes to document the birds
small musicians delivered from trees
hatched perfect.
caught, I shall go back to no maps
the sea removes men to save men
cast as seeds in the oceans rim
one time children came and lifted grace to the dead
the air is crowned with them.
I am torn, I drown, I drown
I am double hollow, I drown
I am feathers and red.

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