The women knew rivers
like beans.
The water rushes
over colored beads
and trinkets
sorting, polishing
they are clean.

For eating, for drinking,
for bathing,
or doing laundry;
the water purifies
the stones, too,
which return
clean water.

Water to drink.
Beans to eat.
Tiny ornaments to admire.

Girls meet
near the watershed
to dance
and swim.
The secret place
no one sees
because it’s balding,
Selecting books
for their collection
while trading
the novel
chapter by chapter,
their luxury.

The old ones
could write
only on the backs
of calendar
the months
gone by,
so they wouldn’t
waste paper.

And faced with
or thrift, who
wouldn’t choose
water? To sing
while beating
the clothes
with switches
and stones,
to tell stories
behind the plow
of the sister
who came home
late once,
and then
just never came home?

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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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