beaded trout

The Healing Soup

She was sicker than she could remember.
An opportunity had come to her door
That fit her like an old pair of jeans but
A throat aflame and a head that thrummed
Would prevent her from accepting an offer
To mentor others in art-making.

The medicine woman's daughter called and
Listened to her wretched complaints: fever, chills,
Congestion, and aches in places never imagined. . .
"Come to my house and I will make you a soup."
The request was more of a command and less of an invitation. . .
She summoned all her strength, left her warm bed, and made the journey
To the woman's home, though sicker than she could ever remember.

She was led down a long, dark hallway and
Seated at a wooden table with a single spoon.
The tiny sunlit kitchen was warm and uncluttered.
A huge bowl, filled to the rim, with a thick bubbling broth, and
Steamy aroma of tubers and woven spices was placed before her.

Sip-by-sip, radiant heat spread to the edges of her body.

Soupy warmth nourished her mind and weakened spirit.
Soft conversation filled the room.
There was a sense of tranquility and contentment.
The potion released its most powerful magic.

At the last sip of soup, there was no sign of fever or aches. . .
"What's in it? You could sell this miracle soup to the world!" she proclaimed!

It has my roots, rutabagas, vegetables -- it has no meat.
When you told me you were ill, I went to the store.
I carefully selected my tubers and prayed.
I asked each of the vegetables to assist you.
I enlisted all of them to help me in your healing.

The two women spoke of planting a garden together.
They would lick each seed before planting it.
The seed would know them and their request.
There would be prayer - prayers that it would grow into a
Healthy plant to nourish them and go to those very
Places that needed healing - it would know those places!

This extraordinary story of the healing soup turned out to be a gift.
We would also go to the market and hand-pick the richest, most
Colorful varieties of indigenous roots and tubers and
Prepare them with love and prayer because
A chronically ill friend had spoken of giving up --
He was tired of the endless struggle with illness.

An important part of the healing medicine is the sacrifice. . .

To carry out an important task - the friend would be required to
Travel a great distance to our door for a single meal.
All vegetables would be summoned to nourish, protect, and heal;
The ritual soup would be served and the story retold.
Yet, no one predicted others at the table would receive a healing too.

Honorable Mention, 40th Annual Oklahoma Conference on Aging, 2015 Senior Poetry Contest (April 2015)

Jaunita Pahdopony


contents of issue 8

IN TIME OF TROUBLE
Linda Rodriguez

The Healing Soup
Jaunita Pahdopony

Army of Artists
Raymond Nat Turner

Where Wings once were
Zigi Lowenberg

What they don't tell you when they tell you about cancer
James Mackay

Ghosts Floating on the Flat White Bed
Erika T. Wurth

Remission Dawning
Stephany JT Russell

Fire Garden
Suha Hassan


Jaunita Pahdopony Biography

Juanita Pahdopony is a Comanche enrolled citizen who writes poetry and creates mixed_media art. She's a retired Dean of Academic Affairs from Comanche Nation College, the first tribal college in Oklahoma.


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