Untitled note from Oregon
A pair of bloodstained gloves in tall grass was left. A sigil. From Winesap
into the Columbia. That was the place where they slept somehow
unbothered by fleas & ticks. Grass went high
as a horse head & even the donkey lay down.
On the lower ridge they pulled mosquitoes into their fists
10 or 15 at a time. Boils on their necks & in dark places
oozed for months. The babies sucked rags dipped in the blood of offal
but came through winter.
On bluffs overlooking the Okanogan
we saw native women coming with Camas hanging from their belts.
They placed the bulbs in a pit & covered them over with sweet grass.
When the Camas had steamed they sliced them like onion heads.
A sweet purple taste. Smokiness of earth & seeping greens.
With translucent Camas tongues falling on our fingers
we looked to the sky, straining to find a bridge
from our grandparents & saw
they have left us everything.
Linda Ravenswood is a poet and performance artist from Los Angeles. Her recent collections include the forthcoming Cantadora — Letters from California (Eyewear London/Black Spring Press Group, 2022). Find her at theLosAngelespress.com
© Variant Literature Inc 2021