Embroidered with transgressions for each day of the week
Clipped words
Clipped again to letters
What ransom note?
What poem?
What do you know of a stolen education?
Marking favorite passages with hour hands
Palmed from the ubiquitous pocket watch
Learn to speak self
Forgive your own joyfulness
Tweezing away the scales
When did that start?
Wake into the knowledge of this translation
Woman is an unfamiliar
You were part of that other change
Learn words of self
Transform and practice the stance that keeps you
Eyes at a level that allows for seeing
Mine were parents who wanted me to know things they didn't
Toes dug down and rooting
Mine were parents
I’m here at the breakfast table
Deep in the inherited facts
Picking one more flashing scale from my flesh
Save them with lint balls and laughter in a vial made of sea water
Who was grandma really?

From Smuggling Cherokee (Greenfield Review Press, 2006). Copyright © 2006 by Kim Shuck. Used with the permission of the author.