“waniska” by Mika Lafond

one morning I cried to my grandmother
what am I worth now without a man to love me
I sat waiting for an answer from a woman who went home 25 years before my cries
I heard nothing – I looked up
the sweet shrill whistle of a bird resting nearby
the wind running its fingers through leaves playing a low murmur
of melody
I noticed how the clouds that never stay were imperfectly shaped
against the blue of sky
I breathed and rested my chin on my hand
I saw the wildness of the grass – greens and yellows growing at their own speed
to reach lengths undefined by each other
I closed my eyes to stop the tears and heard a voice

            you are a woman of this land
            prepared for spring rain when the earth shoots forth with life
            and mother’s love starting fresh from the muds of melted ice
            you are the heat of summer passion
            waking with the sun to dance – to play
            long days and short nights when pleasure brings the embrace
            of light dreams to lay in the arms of soft land
            while ancestors dance brighter than stars
            you are ready to let go as you have seen trees free themselves
            of the weight of autumn – shrinking back deep to roots to wait for warmth
            some days you may be the biting wind of winter
            or the blanket of snow protecting
            you are the single unique snowflake finding its place
            to rest on the land
            you are a daughter of this land
            your worth cannot be measured by a man
            you learn who you are with each day – each moon – each year that passes
            you are all of the seasons in spirit
            the transitions from warm to cold
            from fresh starts to farewells
            you know that each mood will pass like an imperfect cloud
            that the sun moon and stars will wash colour and darkness
            over your life in phases
            this is who you are

my grandmother carried me long before she went home
she left me this voice for mornings when tears smeared my sight line
leaving doubt and confusion
this morning I woke before light touched the land
I sent prayers on feathery wisps of smoke to my grandmother
thank you for who I am – a daughter of this land
as the sun crowned the east
I closed my eyes and found my voic

waniska pe wapan oma

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