Poem: Flint Fingers

Wanda Waterman

While I was searching plants out in the forest

The foemen of my people took me captive.

They burned my fingers pointed in the fire.

I didn’t cry, and the women called me brave.

Soon I bore a baby from my plant pouch.

He grew old quickly, being fatherless

And born from medicinal herbs:

A magic medicine son.

My child and I are fostered by the old ones.

At night we sleep on bearskins.

I love my son’s strong breath, his skin’s sweet odour.

At dawn we gather branches, hay, and water.

One day soon the braves will seek my life.

The old man will warn me, and I will return to my home.

My son will remain, in sickness of heart,

Free to avenge to blows they’ve laid on me.

The people, in fear, will beg my son to rule them.

This is the way in which knowledge will come to them.

My son will be an agent of disclosure,

And the prime of the priestly line.

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