I always knew I belonged to the wind
to the river, the grasslands and the sky,
to the passionate dance of a flame
Those great scorching plains once the canvas for the lives of my ancestors
with their crow-black hair long as prairie grass
hands deep in dust
spirits unbridled by expectation
I ended up elsewhere – stripped of language, song, and smoke
No one’s fault but the system.
“genetic trauma’s a bitch,” I mutter to girlfriends
in manicured apartments
over boujee perrier and vegan cheese
And when I’m alone, I’m alone in offices, apartments, and my mind
with nothing to distract but a Netflix subscription
A puff of balcony smoke, the tracking number of a sartorial delivery:
Bound in concrete mountains, surrounded by raw energies
maximized by greed and despair, sometimes hope and blossoming love
whatever mood the bright swollen moon is in
See the city laid before me in hazy filters
like a film set.
Straight out of some New Wave flick
The brown weathered faces of my brothers in rags on the street corners
“what happened to us? where did the warrior go?”
I saw my eyes reflected back in theirs like a mirror.
That old croaky voice, crooning the songs of my people.
The stars told me to seek,
so I sought and swept the inner sanctions of my mind
trauma, though we’re told not to speak of it.
I came from the stars just as you
And I bring with me their elation and their sorrow
old as millennia. astral organisms.
Back when Creator whispered me into being.
Maybe this is why I feel detached
Why so many of us fall
For the land is our medicine, and we to it
Bring me back to the
river and waves
grasslands and song
the passionate dance of a flame.
- Eagle River
Leanna Pankratz is a writer, student of psychology, journalist, recovery advocate, model, style enthusiast, film geek, and empowered Indigenous woman based in North Vancouver, BC, Canada. This poem encompasses the often baffling dichotomy between so many of our urban, colonial surroundings, and the freedom, strength, and longing to be one with our Earth that is woven into our DNA.