“Radical Hospitality”

Read "Radical Hospitality", a poem for Indigenous Peoples' Day 2022.

Autumn late afternoon and the
Leaf Falling Moon is
a round, ghostly presence
impossibly large in
an impossibly blue sky.

Grandfather Sun
slips below the horizon and
just like that the
Moon reflects bright,
the stars and planets
waking all around her
like fireflies emerging
from the prairie.

In trailers and shacks
in distant woods
fire is stoked in stoves,
hands age-spotted and trembling
feed the flames
with dry, rich smelling blocks
of fresh split
pine, fir, and larch.

Can you feel heat
that smells like dagwaagin’s
first soup and stew
bubbling atop hot iron
during the cold, snowy
months to come
in that ancient valley
beleaguered with its own
pile of modern troubles?

I sip cold water
from a jug.
Feel the chill
beginning to rise
as the ridges to the west
darken to silhouette
and the sky streaks with
deeper shades of pink.

Where does the water come from,
and all that living wood?
Who is the magnanimous donor,
who comforts us
with these gifts?
Given all of our
wreaked havoc on the world,
whose hospitality
is most radical?

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