From the earth
for the buffalo maiden on her dance day:

They swept my four corners at dawn,
they swept me,
picked up the candy wrappers,
cans, lifted an old man
out of a doorway and carried him home.

Now, silent before surise,
I am stirring, ochre,
stuff of the potter’s pot.
They call the small stone
at my end
earth mother, earth navel.
I am beyond mother
beyond father beyond time

To my east
below the horns of the mountains
lies the kiva made of me,
which you will enter after you dress.

In the early dawn you will dress:
embroidered manta, deerskin boots,
shot, tanned and sewn and sewn
by your father.
You will dance gently on me.

I await your footsteps
Buffalo Maiden, Buffalo Men, and Hunter,
down from the hills
across the snow.
I wait for your step.

In the kiva they gather now --
all my singers, the elders,
some weary, some tottering.
Yet when they enter the plaza
in split-leg pants and colored shirt and kerchief
we become one heart.
They know my name
and I know theirs.

And then you, Povi -- born to me --
your long black hair
the rain that falls on me,
all day you will lift your boot
above me, just a little only a little
while drums drum
and the chanters chant
and mothers tap their babies’ feet
to the heartbeat of the buffalo song.

Buffalo Maiden,
dance on my heart