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About this poet

Lois Red Elk is an enrolled member of the Fort Peck Sioux. She is the author of Why I Return to Makoce (Many Voices Press, 2015), Dragonfly Weather (Lost Horse Press, 2013), and Our Blood Remembers (Many Voices Press, 2011), which received the Best Nonfiction Award from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. Red Elk has previously worked as an actor and technical advisor for numerous Hollywood film productions. She teaches cultural courses and traditional language classes at Fort Peck Community College in Montana.

My 24 Hour Version

Light pried open my eyes for vision to
unravel the layered dream bundle tossed
my way last night. It is always the energy
of the last thought, last vision
that urges breath to store all the little songs
floating over my head.  The window shade
tuned to the wakening dial pulled me
to hunger, to thirst, to an empty bowl
as I contemplate
how to cut and dry buffalo grass
for cereal and bread. 
All I want is my 24 hour version
of my life and more.
Last evening's storm was caught
by all the rooftop vanes and turned into
horse energy galloping around and around
one square room after another in an effort
to bring clear red circles
onto all the dark pages
that were written for our lives. 
And, the hooves keep pounding
the message home.
This day I’m collecting all those old diseased
blankets everyone’s hanging on to,
burning them and sending a smoke signal
to open all the doors
that keep our people apart. 
Right now I need to take a breath of
my mother’s vermillion medicine with
a full glass of my father’s healing bloodline.

From Why I Return to Makoce (Many Voices Press, 2015). Copyright © 2015 by Lois Red Elk. Used with the permisison of the author.

From Why I Return to Makoce (Many Voices Press, 2015). Copyright © 2015 by Lois Red Elk. Used with the permisison of the author.

Lois Red Elk

Lois Red Elk

Lois Red Elk is the author of Why I Return to Makoce (Many Voices Press, 2015), Dragonfly Weather (Lost Horse Press, 2013), and Our Blood Remembers (Many Voices Press, 2011).

by this poet

poem

All night during this last decay of autumn moon,
wings have been banging on the eves of my roof,
forcing slivers of shiny black quills to take hold
of all my private continuances.  Every evening
for relentless hours, eyes reflecting moon’s fullness,
yellow and prying, seep through every

poem

The willows were turning green, slips of leafs
pointing to one another in a slow tempo soothing
the air with whispers of coming water. Her feet
were bare and the earth cool while a loose hem
feathered her ankles for her walk. Bracing on
stems for the gradual pace to not disturb all the