Broken Arrows and Broken Bows

The changes we make in the name of flood control.

While ancestors push and gush, and will not be contained
Even as their homes, shacks to begin with, collapse and house
Vulture families, skunks, copperheads, hornets, why go there? Why Risk our safety to pick through the tin and nails of Grandma’s house?

The locust shell which comes every seventeen years. That’s reason Enough and we cradle it in one palm, backing out of the red dust With the other clutching our steering wheel, saying, “well, I’m glad we did that.”

The indigenous own the water since the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit. We are not Required to count from memory the tributaries, boggy And clear, only the five civilized tribes and Maria Tallchief make The Oklahoma history book. Meanwhile, brown babies squeeze Amongst each other and are soon spilling out of the house, crawling And tumbling across the yard and into the road; it’s not enough that We have to watch out for deer in these Modern times. We have to Watch out for the Indian Babies, flying across the interstate, having Their brains drained at the Health clinics, and they’re good people Sharing their USDA commodities at the pow-wows; they are Especially good with beads, shuffling the brightly colored stones to Use in telling their stories, and we wish we had brightly colored Stones to use in telling our stories; all we have is the red, white, and blue so we covet, and make dams bigger than a beaver’s.

By the time we arrive at our destination and loosen our grip on the Past we behold the single moist and shivering palm; it unfurls, Revealing a crushed shell, little locust feet flaking off into the lines Of our hand, only when we go to sleep we do not dream of the future, Instead that we have missed some great train that was bound for Glory, our ticket from Hugo to Clayton as useless as the relics in Clean white museums. This water began at the mountain fork, and The End of the Trail is an old motel above which an American flag Sops up like grease the blood of the brown.

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About the Author

Dr. Belinda Bruner reaches into her communities with offerings of her writing, her enrichment curriculum for young people, and with interactive lectures. She comes from the forests of Southeastern Oklahoma where she was reared in a family of singers and story-tellers. She is currently seeking representation for her novel based on her great-grandmother's time with Pancho Villa's militia. She was conceived under a chinaberry tree during the Perseids meteor shower in the 60s. In addition to her skill as a writer, Belinda holds an undergraduate degree in vocal music.

Belinda Bruner
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