beaded trout

There Must Be Songs For This

Uwodige. Uwodu.
I breath the words out
round as smoke

There must be songs for this.
A formula to bring back stolen children
A songs for protection.
Medicine for return

There must be a ceremony we created
after the boarding schools
and removals
and wars
Sassafras spit
to beg Thunder
a pinch of tobacco
in the first light
of mourning

Miss Veronica
I don't know you
I'm just another broken heart
a blue witness
sending prayers on smoke
to the east
and the war isn't over

You are returning
to land close to our
Mother mounds
They will
sing lullabies
uwodu uwodige usdi

There are old songs belting from the strong
lungs of men who love you
There are old rhythms shaking
from the strong legs
of women who love you
There are old prayers
rising as smoke from people who love you
There are old words sprouting
from the hills that love you


Uodige: Brown
Uwodu: Beautiful
Usdi: Baby
Dvggalutsi: She will come back

Qwo_Li Driskill

contents of issue 6

Long Distance
Jennifer Roush

Easy . . . Girl . . . .
Anne Apfel

When It Happened
Cassandra Dallett

There Must Be Songs For This
Qwo_Li Driskill

Qwo_Li Driskill Biography

Qwo_Li Driskill is a unenrolled and unenrollable Cherokee Two-Spirit writer, performer, and activist from a vexing and mottled line of inauthentic misfits and outcasts.

Permission to publish poems in this one context was granted by the authors, who unless otherwise specified, hold copyright on these works.