Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


For Kathryn

A hummingbird hovers above the branches outside the window.
Soon the earth will rise again.
Waking from earth’s sleep,
green leaves begin to emerge.
Tiny purple flowers bloom like tiny notes of music.
Háshínee’, and so it is.
We called you loved one;  we called you   daughter,   sister,   wife,   mother,   grandmother;
we called you.   friend,    teacher.
After we have feasted in your honor, remembered you in tender ways,
told stories of you,
and the rain has washed away our tears,
we will give you back to the other side.
  We will release you.
                   We will sing you back to your relatives,
                                sing you back to the places where you once walked,
                                          and return you to the stars.
                                                           Háshínee’, and so it is.
                                                             You will return to us
                                                            in the changing season
                                          of a hummingbird hovering above a branch
                                            in the season of green leaves emerging,
                                 in the notes of tiny purple flowers singing in the rain. 

 

*Háshínee’ is a Navajo female term of endearment

Credit


Copyright © Laura Tohe. Used with permission of the author.

Author


Laura Tohe

Laura Tohe is Sleepy-Rock People clan and born for the Bitter Water People clan. A poet and librettist, she is the author of Tseyí / Deep in the Rock (University of Arizona Press, 2005), which received the Arizona Book Association’s Glyph Award for Best Poetry and Best Book. She is Professor Emerita with Distinction at Arizona State University and the current poet laureate of the Navajo Nation.

Date Published: 2021-01-26

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/kathryn