The wagon’s wheels lift over the ruts as
the horses’ tails swing gracefully on their backside.
Their occasional stench blows into the faces
of my grandmother and grandfather.
We are huddled in patchy quilts
as the stars sprinkle the heavens
It won’t be long before we arrive
at the camp.
I imagine the skeletal hands of my ancestors
caressing our hair as we watch the bats
in the clearness of this dark prairie sky.
The year is when the prairie dust stormed.
When my grandfolks couldn’t leave the reserve
without a permit to visit our neighbouring relatives.
There is no sound except the breathing horses.
We are all dressed in dark heavy clothes,
for we are fugitives in this land
we once roamed like buffalo.
The settlers are often scared,
as if our emaciated bodies could run across
their threshold, rob them of their stale bread.
We will find shelter in the thickness of the coulees,
munch on dry meat and pemmican,
huddle like rabbits in broad daylight.
We are the prairie
and the prairie is a tumbleweed inside us.