Full Blood Love
The fire crackles, the ice cracks.
Our half-truths step forward,
As our history comes back.
I was harder then,
Then I am now.
Notice my shield, its iridescent glow,
The rainbow shimmer deep, down low,
Full blood love.
The things we could not change
Have brought us here
To this not-so-secret door.
A forgiveness door that would not open before.
Behind the long roads and spaces in between
The light years we have become,
My brothers and sisters, our sweet devotion,
Distilled from this strange emotion.
We are as full blood life, a sum of fateful hearts joined,
Birds in flight that always belonged.
We learn as we grow that all is not what we see,
And many stories combine to create the legacy.
From the edge of the stand,
Elm leaves fall like golden rain.
My Indian sister tells me how to pronounce words in our native tongue,
And I remember our mother’s voice.
My children are white and middle aged.
These words sparkle like sand, I think,
And the tide comes in.
Still, I say the words out loud.
We will talk about where our grandfather was born.
Maybe we will talk about the Indian School where he was forbidden
To speak our native tongue.
We will say the words again,
And laugh at ourselves.
And like the ocean will kiss the shore,
We will say the words again,
And we will never forget.
As I sit looking at my father’s empty shoes,
I think we all make choices,
We did not want to choose.
All our stories held in place,
By just this resemblance in my face.
The stones now cast, the black cat walked past,
The art of absence, the blank stare,
The years of our lives we did not share.
Your children have come to say goodbye,
To gather together,
To let go of why.
No longer able to braid the thread,
We will share our memories of you instead.
We knew you, each of us at one time
And now we hold the key,
With each new season,
A new identity, mixed in memory.
Gathered from imperfect youth,
And wildfires raging inside our heads,
Those fires now glowing embers in the sand,
As Destiny asks for it all on demand.
But even a grain of sand can grow into something beautiful we know,
As Above, So Below.
Now like an ocean song in a favorite shell,
You have become part of the story
This grandmother will tell.
I bring a child, a stranger, threads of this, my genesis,
A dream unfolding, truly blessed,
Related by blood, and our old photographs.
It rushes up as the history comes back.
Your fabric weaving down through the years, behind the tears,
The fire crackles, the ice cracks,
The truth still here in the ash and glass.
Crystal Dawn Draffen is a mixed blood Wolastoqey writer who was raised in Albany, New York. She is a 1987 graduate of SUNY Albany, with a BA in English.
Her very first publication was Sin Nombre (American Poetry anthology 1982). Abducted from her Indigenous mother at 26 months, she had no knowledge of her own heritage until she found her mother at the age of eighteen. Crystal enjoys genealogical research, gardening and walks in the woods. Halloween is a favorite holiday and she is an expert costumer.
Her work can be found in the anthology In The Veins (Blue Hand Books) edited by Patricia Busby. Crystal lives and writes in Lanesborough, MA, close to the nature that she loves, with her husband Eric, 2 rescue felines and her cadoodle dog, Dharma. She is currently working on a memoir of her young life as a lost cub, and how she came to know her mother. This is her first publication in Dawnland Voices 2.0.