Monday, November 9, 2015

Meeting Hecate--Another poem for Native American Heritage Month

This poem is based on a traditional Cherokee teaching story my grandmother used to tell me when I was small. 


How I fear the witch in me,
the one in touch
with power, the one who knows
without knowing
how, the secret
priestess, spirit-bearer, the ugly side
of woman, the crone—
and I remember the Cherokee
legend of Stoneskin, superhuman
cannibal, devouring whole
villages, how the People
set up a fortress of women
menstruating, how the sight
of each weakened Stoneskin
until he died and, dying, told them
all the secrets, ways
of power, conjure spells, ways
to do things.

The Cherokee live
off the wisdom
of a dying monster and the power
of bleeding women, and they remember
this. There is a witch somewhere
in every woman.

Published in Heart’s Migration (Tia Chucha Press, 2009)

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