Completing the first week of Native Poem-A-Day, I thought I would spend the same amount of time (a lot) finding a poem that really spoke to me, or looking at all these Native poets I’ve always wanted to spend more time with.
But this one – Star Quilt by Roberta J. Hill – jumped out at me. Maybe because I’ve been spending days and days sewing face masks and have come to philosophizing about sewing lately?
This poem, however, has that thing about it I love – which is that I am now inspired to write after reading this just once. Her words just offer something quite friendly and accessible up while at the same time being complex and making me think.
By Roberta J. Hill
These are notes to lightning in my bedroom.
A star forged from linen thread and patches.
Purple, yellow, red like diamond suckers, children
of the star gleam on sweaty nights. The quilt unfolds
against sheets, moving, warm clouds of Chinook.
It covers my cuts, my red birch clusters under pine.
Under it your mouth begins a legend,
and wide as the plain, I hope Wisconsin marshes
promise your caress. The candle locks
us in forest smells, your cheek tattered
by shadow. Sweetened by wings, my mothlike heart
flies nightly among geraniums.
We know of land that looks lonely,
but isn’t, of beef with hides of velveteen,
of sorrow, an eddy in blood.
Star quilt, sewn from dawn light by fingers
of flint, take away those touches
meant for noisier skins,
annoint us with grass and twilight air,
so we may embrace, two bitter roots
pushing back into the dust.