I wear bird spirits and fox bones in my hair,
tend my thistle garden, bend and break my thistle stems.
Grandmother says I am still a child,
that my blue river deltas are small yet,
have not known yet what it is to run over their banks.
But I have known the pulsing flood-flow—
my heart’s been overrun before,
and she will see me one day soon as the summer I am,
brown and freckled and aging, finally.
She raised me
with her many words and stories;
she says my parents had scarcely writ my name in the family Bible
before they were gone,
says I need to keep thistles in the garden
to know who’s a friend and who’s a liar.
She says lots of other things, too—
the devil’s in the details,
hay should be made under a shining sun,
she’s a Nile River Delta of words,
she sees through muddy water to river sands—
but sometimes I think her river bottom is just mud, too.