My Best Old Ex-Friend Ray*

Mourning Woman, Egon Schiele, 1912
Leopold Collection Vienna, on loan to MOMA

It was all about the sex, of course. Isn’t it always all about the sex?

Oh, sure, I’d like to believe he loved me for my mind. Or my scintillating conversation. Or even my outrageous sense of humor. In fact, I’d like to believe he loved me at all. 

I’d even be happy just to go on believing he was my best friend.

Oh, well.

Along with a discerning eye and a never-ending battle with gravity, age brings wisdom. I’ve cast off the ill-advised beliefs of youth and now embrace a new reality-based religion.

Think me a cynic, do you? Yeah, well, I suppose I am. But that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

And now you’ll have to excuse me. It’s time to put on my hat – you know, the one with the black veil so no one can see the laughter lurking beneath the tears – and go say bye-bye to my best old ex-friend Ray, deceased.

*  "My Best Old Ex-Friend Ray" is a line from the song Operator by Jim Croce.


Written for the Tenth Daughter of Memory


The Yearbook

looking backward into those years past
drawn in inks black and blue and red
scrawled in the empty space between all
the good wishes and ads for the future
sentiment and names barely remembered
looking back between pages of pictures
of slightly familiar faces strangers smiling
she most this and he likely to do that
the smart ones pretty ones and the clown
most funny holding footballs basketballs
posies of pink dressed in tulle remembering
it was all about filling the blank page

Ghost Dancer - Part 3

Source: North American Indian
Edward S. Curtis (1907)

Ghost Dancer - Part 3

General Custer listens as the Crow scouts describe the scene at Greasy Grass River, and then musters his forces. 

“Varnum, these scouts say they saw the village from this place they call Crow’s Nest. Go there now with them, and look. Send word back. I will follow.” 

The group leaves to make the journey back to the outcropping where Many Eagle Feathers, White Swan, and Curley saw the village below. 

On the morning of the second day, Varnum sends two Arikara scouts ahead.

“Ride past the village,” he instructs them. “See if there are any more to be found.” 

Just after breaking camp that day, Varnum and his scouts come upon something in a large clearing that the scouts understand all too well.

“Built for sun dance,” Curley says, indicating two large circles of brush.

“Here they pray for victory, and make warriors -- many warriors -- ready for battle.” He waves his arms to encompass the two large circles as he speaks.

Unimpressed, Varnum commands, "Move on."

The group rides past the circles and as they enter the trail just beyond, one of the Arikara scouts says, “Look.”

He points to the edge of the trail, where a coup stick is shoved into the ground. The stick is adorned with feathers, and something else.

“Look,” the Arikara says again. “It bears fresh white man's scalp.”

“They pass here with this sun,” Goes Ahead says.

“We must be getting close.” Varnum comments as his spurs his horse forward. “Let’s keep moving.”

It's not long before the party spots smoke drifting toward the sky and they know the village is ahead. They ride closer and when they reach Crow’s Nest, they dismount and look below. There are still not many men to be seen in the large encampment.

Varnum turns to Reynolds. “Ride back and tell General Custer what we’ve seen. Make haste. We'll pull back to the clearing with the circles and wait for orders."

As Varnum’s group heads back to the clearing, they are joined by the two returning Arikara scouts.

“Well, did you find anything?” Varnum demands.

“No warriors,” one scout replies. “But many horses. 1,000 horses.”


The scouts are surprised when the white leader arrives at the clearing with a much smaller group of soldiers than they had left at Yellowstone River.  They stand listening as Custer and the white officers kneel on the ground around a hand-drawn map, discussing strategy. Custer explains that he has broken up the regiment, sending two smaller groups in different directions under Major Reno and Captain Benteen. His intention is to surround the village. 

“They are poorly defended,” Custer declares. “Now is the time to attack.”

“You must have more warriors,” Curley advises. “Bring your soldiers together. They are too many for a broken army to defeat.” 

“Nonsense,” Custer replies, his scorn for the red men he relies on for intelligence evident. “You’ve seen the village for yourself.”

He turns to his officers, and says “Ready your men. We attack immediately, as they sleep.

As the soldiers prepare to ride, the scouts move to one side of the clearing to talk.

“We attack immediately, and we die before dawn,” White Man Runs Him said.

White Man Runs Him had been the first of the Apsáalooke to volunteer to be a scout for the cavalry. As was the custom, his clan changed his name amid much good natured ribbing to suit his new status in life. 

Today, White Man Runs Him decides he will only run so far at the direction of the white man.

“If I am to die, I do not die a man in silly clothes.” The scout removes his hat and jacket, and throws them to the ground. “I will die a warrior.” 

He opens one of the leather pouches hanging from his pack horse, and begins to remove its contents. When the others see his intent, they follow suit. In minutes, the seven Apsáalooke wear full tribal battle dress. They move to one of the brush circles, and begin an abbreviated version of the sun dance.

“Belay there!” An angry voice reaches them, followed by a very angry General Custer.

“What are you doing? Stop immediately. You are Army scouts.”

Calling on his namesake for bravery, Many Eagle Feathers steps forward.

“General, leader of white warriors… We see death coming on the new sun. We do not die as ‘soldiers.’ We die as Apsáalooke warriors.”

Custer’s face glows red. “Not in my Army, you don’t!” he snaps. “Leave now. Report back to Fort Snelling for reassignment. Your work here is done.”

And with that, he spins on his heel and goes back to his troops.

The seven Apsáalooke look at each other, and without a word, they mount their horses and ride out of the clearing.

Once out of sight, White Swan holds up an arm to stop his fellow scouts. 

“Past Crow’s Nest, quicker way.”

The others nod assent and they turn their horses into the mountains.

As the seven ride to Crow’s Nest, they cross a stream with two white men in it, missing their uniforms and their scalps. White Swan nods as they pass.

“The white man rides into the sunset of his day,” he says in a low voice.

When they reach the Crow's Nest, the battle has begun below them. Despite the smoke of many dying fires, they can see that the small contingent of soldiers with Custer has been quickly overrun by Sioux, many braves to every white man. None of the rest of Custer’s regiment has reached the village from the other side to help, and the soldiers are helpless to defend themselves from the arrows, tomahawks, and rifles of the screeching Sioux warriors. Blood flows everywhere from downed men and horses.

As they view the carnage, Many Eagle Feathers has a vision of the bishée herd running beside him, and he hears the voice of his spirit guide.

He looks at his brother Apsáalooke warriors and says, “I was made to this moment. The Great Spirit has spoken. My sun is set.”

He turns and heads back down the trail, riding hard.


The tattoo of the drums grows louder.

As the party accompanying the travois slows, Many Eagle Feather’s memories fade, and the drumbeats of this day fill his head again.

The horse pulling the travois comes to a stop in a weed-filled clearing near the top of the hill and the mourners separate into groups around it. The scene is unlike anything that any of those present has ever seen before, let alone been a part of.

Several members of the tribe go to the travois and loosen the straps. They carefully lift the body, which has been wrapped in a bison robe and then a lodge skin of white-tanned deer. 

Source: North American Indian
Edward S. Curtis (1907)
With great ceremony, they carry the body to a scaffolding built in the clearing and strap it on securely, with the feet facing toward the east and the head toward the west. Then they step back and the drumbeats stop.

There is a small group of uniformed soldiers standing at attention at the sidelines. A man in the uniform of the US Army  7th Cavalry breaks from the group and goes to stand in front of the crude funeral bier. Colonel Henry Trostell was one of the first to walk among the bodies the day after the battle at Greasy Grass River, or Little Bighorn as it is called by the white man.

For a moment, he stands at attention in front of the scaffolding, then he removes his hat and says, “This man, Many Eagle Feathers, was a brave man and great warrior.” 

He pauses as the voice of Wind That Sings wails in sorrow. The sound scares the infant secured to a cradle board on her back, and Comes With Thunder begins to cry too. Teardrops stain the cheeks of most members of the Many Eagle Feathers’ clan.

“We have come here to honor him. There were over three hundred officers and troopers from the 7th Cavalry with General Custer that day. It’s impossible to say with certainty how many were killed, but the best estimate is 268, including General Custer himself.”

Colonel Trostell pauses to brush tears from his own cheeks before continuing.

“One thing we know for sure. Sixty-two of those men survived. Scouts who witnessed the massacre from above at Crow’s Nest reported that those survivors owe their lives to Many Eagle Feathers. This scout had been relieved of his duty at Little Bighorn, but he went back and fought the Sioux, pushing them back from a group of wounded soldiers who would have surely been killed and scalped. He gave his life in the process.”

The officer turns and gestures to a cavalry trooper. The soldier steps forward, puts a copper clarion to his lips, and blows a mournful song into a silence broken only by the sound of weeping. 

When the bugler steps back, the Apsáalooke drums begin again, joined by a wooden flute. As the drums continue, members of the tribe who have come to send the deceased on his journey to the Great Spirit begin dancing around the scaffold and chanting the song that tells the spirit he coming.

The spirit of Many Eagle Feathers watches for a few moments. Then he joins his clan and dances with them one more time, chanting his own death prayer.
My sun is set.
My day is done.
Darkness is stealing over me.
Shadows are long and dark before me.
I have no fear, for I go to dance with the spirits.

The End


Written for the Tenth Daughter of Memory

Ghost Dancer - Part 2

Continued from Ghost Dancer - Part 1

 Source: North American Indian
Edward S. Curtis (1907)

Ghost Dancer - Part 2

Running Bear, one of the braves from the Many Lodges tribe, returns from a deer hunt early and rides hard into the Apsáalooke village.

“The enemy is four suns over Heart Mountain, and they are many numbers, come to steal horses and women.”

 “Ride to where you began, Running Bear. We come behind. When you know where the Lakota camp, return to find us in your tracks. You will lead us to them,” Chief Many Coups tells him.

After Running Bear gets a fresh horse and provisions, he heads back the way he came.

Then the chief turns to the gathered tribe and calls, "Men, prepare your hair.  Ready your paints. We soon battle the enemy. Let us dance for victory." 

War drums begin their tattoo and the men, who have dressed in battle garments, gather in front of the medicine lodge in a dance ceremony to prepare for battle. 

Bringing the sacred pipe, Fox With Bushy Tail prays to the Four Directions, then walks to the chief and holds the pipe to his lips. When the chief exhales, the smoke drifts to the South, an omen of good luck. The gathered men sing “A-hó! A-hó! A-hó!” and begin the sun dance inside a loose circular fence made of brush set up for that purpose. The soft moccasin soles on their feet raise a cloud of dust around them as they thump the ground with determination.

Fox With Bushy Tail draws smoke from the pipe, and passes it to his son, who does the same. The sacred pipe makes its way around the circle of warriors, each adding his prayer to the sun. 

Chief Many Coups begins to sing a battle song. As he sings, he lay his medicine on a deerskin, item by item, beginning with a small twig of pine.

“I look to the sun, and there I see many trees,” the chief sings as the pipe is passed around.

Next, he places eagle feathers beside the twig.

“I look to the sun, and there I see seven eagles in a tall tree.”

The chief lays the head of a mole on the deerskin.

“I look to the sun and there I see owl with horns swoop to capture the moles on the plain.”

“I look to the sun and I see the swift snake strike to steal the mole from the owl.”

With the final item, the skin of a snake, is in place to make his powerful medicine , the chief joins the men in the sun dance, his moccasins showing more determination than any.

Fox With Bushy Tail squats on the deerskin in the middle of the dancing warriors and fastens the items together, tying the pine, feathers and mole head together with the skin of the snake. As he works, the drums and dancers increase their tempo, and the notes of a wood flute join in. When Fox With Bushy Tail stands, drums and dancers come to a sudden stop, and Chief Many Coups moves to stand on the deerskin where his medicine had been. 

Chanting a prayer to the Winds, Fox With Bushy Tail places the medicine on the chief’s head, and ties it with a strip of deerskin tanned white. Then he steps aside.

Black Bear walks to the center of the circle, where the chief stands waiting. This is an honor he has earned because his vision quest was successful, and it is one he takes very seriously. One by one, he places five feathers of the black crow into the chief’s headdress, chanting a plea to the sun for a successful battle. Then he rejoins the circle of men.

As the medicine man Yellow Tail opens the pouch of blessed medicine he carries to paint the chief’s face, each of the warriors draw from the medicine pouch they wear around their neck and paint their own faces. Yellow pollen, crushed shell and stone, flower petals, and the blood from animals are used to make paints of different colors, which the men smear onto their faces in patterns.

At last Chief Many Coups announces, “I look to the sun and there I see victory. Take many moccasins. We leave to meet the enemy. Do not talk, but think of victory.”

Black Bear thinks of his vision, and wonders if this is the time.

A hopeful Black Bear rides to battle with his father and the other warriors. The scout Running Bear meets them along the way. He's located the marauding Lakota and reports as the moon rises. 

“They make camp at Many Rocks Creek.”

Squatting on the ground, Running Bear draws on the ground with a stick, describing what he knows.

That night, the warriors surprise the Lakota as they sleep. Thanks to the information Running Bear brings them, they are able to sneak into the camp without being seen by Lakota lookouts. After a fierce battle, the enemy has lost many braves and turned back. Though a few Crow warriors die, the tribe emerges victorious.

Upon their return, Fox With Bushy Tail calls the members of his clan, ássakkĕ, to the front of his lodge for a celebration.

“We have turned back the enemy. Rejoice with me, my brothers and sisters. My son has shown great bravery this day. He has counted coup, and taken an enemy’s horse.”

These were words the young brave had longed to hear. His heart swells. Counting coup is good; taking a horse from an enemy warrior is even better. His relatives raise their voices and sing his praises as they dance around the clearing. 

Then his uncle, Hunts with Wolves, pulls Black Bear to the center of the group and sings out.

“From this day forth, he is known as Many Eagle Feathers. Bring presents.”

Black Bear -- Many Eagle Feathers! -- is overjoyed. Many Eagle Feathers was the father of his father's father, and was known for great bravery.

After everyone has eaten and the celebration winds down, the clan members gather around a great blaze and share stories. Warriors tell of the battle. When it’s Many Eagle Feathers’ turn to speak, he counts coup for the first time.  And for the first time, he feels like a man, especially when he sees the pride glowing on the faces of Wind That Sings and Fox With Bushy Tail. But when he turns to his mother, he is uncertain just what he sees on her face.  Made to Lead looks at him carefully, and seems to be waiting for something more. 

He knows then that this is the time to tell his clan what he must do. As Black Bear begins to share his vision, he  worries about how his clan will react.  He hopes that the bravery of his ancestor Many Eagle Feathers will be with him as he speaks.


“Go with pride and bravery, Many Eagle Feathers,” his mother says to him when he makes his farewell. “Soon is the day you were made to live.”

When Many Eagle Feathers leaves his mother and father, his wife Wind That Sings, and his infant son Comes With Thunder behind with the clan, he feels loss. It is difficult, but as he goes, he knows it is the right thing. His spirit guide’s message was clear. He consoles himself with the knowledge that, after a month of suns while he learns the white man’s ways, he will return at the setting sun often to spend darkness with the clan.

Many Eagle Feathers joins his cousin White Swan to begin his service as batsĭk-ya to the white man’s army. They serve with the infantry, scouting for Rides with Stiff Back, their private name for the white Army man who calls himself Lieutenant Varnum.
Riding with White Swan into the mountains one day, he shares his vision with his cousin, and tells him what his mother and the Council of Elders said.

“My vision was the same,” White Swan declares. “It is clear, my cousin. The Great Spirit has bestowed special blessings on us.”

As he speaks, White Swan shoves back the hat the white man makes him to wear in annoyance. 

“Except for these ridiculous clothes the Great Spirit has provided  for us to wear.” 

Many Eagle Feathers joins him in laughter.

Both scouts are dressed in a wild approximation of a Cavalry uniform. Combined with their breech cloth, buckskin leggings, and moccasins, they wear outdated and ill-fitting Army jackets. Their long braids hang from beneath hats from which the crowns have been ripped out and which are adorned with feathers and other clan symbols.

Many Eagle Feathers suddenly draws his horse up, and holds his hand up. They hear the soft snuffle of a horse coming from around a rocky outcropping ahead on the trail. The two scouts sit motionless, listening carefully, until they hear the sound of the blue jay’s song. White Swan purses his lips and makes an answering call, and within minutes, Curley, another Crow scout, comes from around the outcropping and joins them.

Kaheé,” the braves greet each other.

“Come now, ride with me. A Sioux village lies ahead,” Curley tells the two cousins. 

The three scouts ride through the mountains until they reach an overlook they call Crow’s Nest. Curley stops them short and gestures toward the edge.

Source: North American Indian
Edward S. Curtis (1907)
“There,” he whispers. “Look below.”

The scouts dismount and, moving close to the ground, being careful not to dislodge any loose rocks that would announce their presence, creep forward to the edge. Below, in the big plain of the Greasy Grass River, they can see a large Sioux encampment with hundreds of lodges. 

Many Eagle Feathers draws in a breath. “I’ve seen no bigger.”

There are not many braves, but many women and children move about the village.

“Where are the men?” Curley says, looking sharply at the others. “There are many not here. Come, we must sound a warning.”


When the scouts return to Rides with Stiff Back’s camp and describe the Sioux village, the white officer finds their report hard to believe.

“Are you sure? Hundreds of lodges? How can that be?” 

“It is so,” Curley responded as the other two scouts nodded their agreement.

"There will be many warriors,” Many Eagle Feathers said. “Too many.”

Varnum assembled his group of scouts and guides. Among them are several more Crow, scouts from the Sahnish Arikara tribe, and one white scout, a man called Charlie Reynolds. 

“General Custer is camped at Yellowstone River, a three-day ride,” he said. “We must leave immediately to report what you’ve seen, and let him decide the best course of action.”

As the column begins to move forward, the other Crow scouts -- White Man Runs Him, Goes Ahead, Hairy Moccasin, and Half Yellow Face -- move to join Many Eagle Feathers, Curley, and White Swan.  The seven Crow’s eyes meet and in Apsáalooke tongue, which the white man doesn’t understand, Many Eagle Feathers says softly, “The ‘best course of action’ is to leave.”

To be continued in Ghost Dancer - Part 3.


Written for the Tenth Daughter of Memory

Ghost Dancer - Part 1

This is Part 1 of a 3-part story.

Image: video screen capture 

The sun beats down unmercifully on mourners as they slowly follow the horse-pulled travois as it bumps up the hill. A rhythmic tattoo of drums sets a somber tone and the clomping of horse hooves navigating the rocky incline keeps time. He knows he should stay in the moment of this solemn occasion, but he fails. The beat of the drums is hypnotic, echoing times past, and his mind follows.


Black Bear travels alone as he follows the cairn-marked trail through the pine woods clinging to the side of the mountain. For the young Apsáalooke brave, the trek to Medicine Circle high in the Bighorn Mountains, which he calls Iisiaxpúatachee Isawaxaawúua, is an important rite of passage. He walks in the footsteps of his ancestors to the place built before the light came. There he will make a vision quest. Again.

This is not his first vision quest. He has made this journey before, and his days of fasting and prayer at Medicine Circle have shown him nothing but failure. Black Bear hopes that he is at last worthy. When he performed a sweat ceremony to purify himself before leaving, he prayed that this quest would bring to him a vision and awaken in his heart the knowledge of the Maker of All Things Above. When he reaches Medicine Circle, he will spend four days fasting. He will pray again, this time for bravery and strength in battle.

And he will pray for his mother.


Black Bear’s mother, Masákuŭ, Made to Lead, is a strong woman. She is also protective of her only son and worries each time he rides with the warriors of the tribe, something Black Bear believes has been strong medicine shielding him from success. He has fought among the tribe warriors in many battles and has killed the enemy, but he has yet to count coup.

Anyone can kill. That requires little but a swift arrow and a steady hand. But to count coup, to touch the enemy with your coup stick and live to speak of it later? That is the sign of true bravery.

His wife, Wind That Sings, reassures him, but he still feels like a failure. Wind That Sings is the daughter of the chief of the Many Lodges. She and her family agreed readily to their union, but he can’t see how they could view him as anything more than a mere boy. That's how he sees himself.

And he lays all of this at the feet of Made to Lead. He strongly suspects that in her concern for her safety, his mother has interceded and asked her powerful spirit guide to protect him.

Fighting his humiliation, Black Bear had gone to her and pleaded.

“Made to Lead, my mother whom I honor above all women… I am no longer a child. It is my place to be on the battlefield with the other men. It is my time to be a strong warrior. You must put aside your fears, and pray instead that I be victorious.” 

“You are meant for other things, Black Bear,” she’d replied calmly, barely looking up from the beading she was doing on a deerskin shirt. As she sewed one pierced seed after another to the tanned leather, she continued. “I  have prayed. I have asked my spirit guide, and she has spoken.”

What other things, my mother,” he’d asked, exasperated and fighting the teardrops threatening to track down his young cheeks. “What other things could I be meant for other than defending Wind That Sings, you and the rest of my people? What could be more important that preventing the Siksika Blackfoot and Lakota from raiding our camps and stealing our women and horses? What?” 

He’d hated the tone he heard sneaking into his voice. He'd sounded like a girl child begging for a doll. 

“Your way will be made clear, my son.” And with that, she turned all of her attention to her beading and he knew the discussion was over.

Black Bear considered going to his father and asking him to intervene. Fox with Bushy Tail was a great warrior who counted many coups; the sleeve of his war shirt bore the scalps to prove it so to all he met in battle.  But he knew it was useless. When it came to matters of family, the women of the tribe made the decisions. Especially this woman.

And then Wind That Sings became heavy with his child. Black Bear was desperate; his heart filled with angst. It must be that his child be born to a noble warrior. It must.

On a dark, frigid night at the wane of the Wolf Moon, Black Bear visited the medicine lodge where the Council of Elders gathered. 

He paused just inside the entrance to the lodge and stood before the circle of men who sat around the fire in the middle of the large tipi. Each was wrapped in a heavy striped blanket to protect old bones from the bitter cold of the nearly moonless night. One of the men, Runs With Wild Horses, beat a slow tattoo on a small drum made of bison hide stretched over a hollowed out piece of wood cut from the heart of the tall tree, which he held nestled in the crook of his crossed legs. The elders rocked to the drum rhythm as they chanted their prayers.  

Black Bear waited silently until one of old men acknowledged his presence. Then he crept closer to the warmth of the fire, taking the seat the elder had indicated.

Kaheé, Bull Goes Hunting,” he said in greeting to a very old, white-haired Crow seated cross-legged on the opposite side of the fire. 

The old man raised rheumy eyes to Black Bear, and lifted an arthritis-gnarled hand indicating he was welcome.

Kaheé, Seeks the Enemy.” He greeted each of the other elders in turn to show his respect. “Kaheé.”

“Venerable ones, I come for your guidance and wisdom. I beg, hear me. Why have I not proven myself? When will I become a true warrior? When will come the day I bear the name of my ancestor?” he asked the wise elders of the tribe.

Black Bear yearns for the day he will be given the name of a respected ancestor, which can only come after he has counted coup in battle. 

Source: North American Indian
Edward S. Curtis (1907)
 Bull Goes Hunting is the oldest man in the tribe, his face is pleated with age. He spoke softly, forcing Black Bear to lean closer in order to hear his words.

“Young one, I have heard crying in the night as I wander in my sleep. And when I awaken, tears walk my face. There is much danger ahead.” 

As he spoke, Bull Goes Hunting gently moved his hands in illustration.

“Sit down this day; there come many days in which you will show yourself brave. And, my son, though your bravery will at first be rejected by those who most need it, it will be very great in the eyes of He That Knows All. You must persevere.”

While Black Bear pondered the picture of the future that the wizened man -- whom he knew was once fearsome in battle, a man of many coups -- had drawn on the air, the drumbeat began again and the elders chanted affirmation of Bull Goes Hunting’s words. When the drums stopped, the old man spoke again.

“Now you will join us and smoke as we sing to Morning Star to bring you patience.

As the pipe was passed from man to man, the gathered Crow sang the Holy Tobacco Song to the beat of the drum.

“Itsihtsé aáshpami, hu; itsihtsé aáshpami...”

Black Bear shared tobacco with the elders. Then, after thanking them for their wisdom and blessing, he’d left the lodge, more confused than when he’d arrived. If Bull Goes Hunting said it, it must be true. 

Still, Black Bear worries.


On the night of his third sleep at Medicine Circle, Black Bear has eaten nothing for two suns. He prays  earnestly, his voice raised in a wail. 

“He That Always Listens, hear my plea. My teardrops fall to the ground.”

He uses the knife he holds and slices into the first joint of a finger, allowing the blood to soak into the soil of the Medicine Circle.

“Look upon me. My blood enriches the land. Let me vanquish all who threaten my people. May enemies cower beneath my stare."

Black Bear raises his eyes skyward and adds softly, "And may Born To Lead find peace with her warrior son.”

As he sleeps that night, he hears the slow beat of a drum. At first, the drumbeats seem distant, but soon they come close, bringing with them a small herd of bishée. As the drums grow louder, so does the pounding of the bison hooves running past him. But Black Bear has no fear. 

He knows that his soul has been visited by Akbatsivekyáti, Little One That Tells Things, who will call his medicine spirit, his hŭpádhiŭ, to instruct his soul.  Soon, the hŭpádhiŭ comes and speaks to his soul, so softly that even the soul cannot hear. He scarcely believe the words that the spirit has breathed into him, but he knows now what he must do.

Continued in Part 2 


Written for the Tenth Daughter of Memory


Flight Delayed

old man sits dozing
enjoying warm summer sun
flying high can wait


Written for Haiku Friday, hosted by LouCeel