Also, hey, she has a blog! - Birchbark Blog. I honestly haven't had the time to settle in and read much of it yet, but it's nestled on the Birchbark Books site.
Indian Boarding School: The Runaways
Home’s the place we head for in our sleep.
Boxcars stumbling north in dreams
don’t wait for us. We catch them on the run.
The rails, old lacerations that we love,
shoot parallel across the face and break
just under Turtle Mountains. Riding scars
you can’t get lost. Home is the place they cross.
The lame guard strikes a match and makes the dark
less tolerant. We watch through cracks in boards
as the land starts rolling, rolling till it hurts
to be here, cold in regulation clothes.
We know the sheriff’s waiting at midrun
to take us back. His car is dumb and warm.
The highway doesn’t rock, it only hums
like a wing of long insults. The worn-down welts
of ancient punishments lead back and forth.
All runaways wear dresses, long green ones,
the color you would think shame was. We scrub
the sidewalks down because it's shameful work.
Our brushes cut the stone in watered arcs
and in the soak frail outlines shiver clear
a moment, things us kids pressed on the dark
face before it hardened, pale, remembering
delicate old injuries, the spines of names and leaves.
We watched from the house
as the river grew, helpless
and terrible in its unfamiliar body.
Wrestling everything into it,
the water wrapped around trees
until their life-hold was broken.
They went down, one by one,
and the river dragged off their covering.
Nests of the herons, roots washed to bones,
snags of soaked bark on the shoreline:
a whole forest pulled through the teeth
of the spillway. Trees surfacing
singly, where the river poured off
into arteries for fields below the reservation.
When at last it was over, the long removal,
they had all become the same dry wood.
We walked among them, the branches
whitening in the raw sun.
Above us drifted herons,
alone, hoarse-voiced, broken,
settling their beaks among the hollows.
Grandpa said, These are the ghosts of the tree people
moving among us, unable to take their rest.
Sometimes now, we dream our way back to the heron dance.
Their long wings are bending the air
into circles through which they fall.
They rise again in shifting wheels.
How long must we live in the broken figures
their necks make, narrowing the sky.
The Strange People
The antelope are strange people ... they are beautiful to look at, and yet they are tricky. We do not trust them. They appear and disappear; they are like shadows on the plains. Because of their great beauty, young men sometimes follow the antelope and are lost forever. Even if those foolish ones find themselves and return, they are never again right in their heads.—Pretty Shield,
Medicine Woman of the Crows
transcribed and edited by
Frank Linderman (1932)
All night I am the doe, breathing
his name in a frozen field,
the small mist of the word
drifting always before me.
And again he has heard it
and I have gone burning
to meet him, the jacklight
fills my eyes with blue fire;
the heart in my chest
explodes like a hot stone.
Then slung like a sack
in the back of his pickup,
I wipe the death scum
from my mouth, sit up laughing
and shriek in my speeding grave.
Safely shut in the garage,
when he sharpens his knife
and thinks to have me, like that,
I come toward him,
a lean gray witch
through the bullets that enter and dissolve.
I sit in his house
drinking coffee till dawn
and leave as frost reddens on hubcaps,
crawling back into my shadowy body.
All day, asleep in clean grasses,
I dream of the one who could really wound me.
Not with weapons, not with a kiss, not with a look.
Not even with his goodness.
If a man was never to lie to me. Never lie me.
I swear I would never leave him.
from: Original Fire: Selected and New Poems. Copyright 2003.
List of Works:
Novels: Love Medicine, The Beet Queen, Tracks, The Crown of Columbus [coauthored with Michael Dorris], The Bingo Palace, Tales of Burning Love, The Antelope Wife, The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse, The Master Butchers Singing Club, Four Souls, The Painted Drum, The Plague of Doves, Shadow Tag, The Round House,
Story collections: The Red Convertible: Collected and New Stories 1978-2008,
Children's literature: Grandmother's Pigeon, The Birchbark House, The Range Eternal, The Game of Silence, The Porcupine Year, Chickadee,
Poetry: Jacklight, Baptism of Desire, Original Fire: Selected and New Poems,
Non-fiction: Route Two [coauthored with Michael Dorris], The Blue Jay’s Dance: A Birthyear, Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country,
As editor or contributor: The Broken Cord by Michael Dorris (Foreword), The Best American Short Stories (Editor, with Katrina Kenison),
Sources: here, here, here,