Christina Rose

The Revelation: Poetry for Heritage Month

Richard Walker

Richard Walker, Mexican/Yaqui, is a journalist living on the Kitsap Peninsula of Washington state. He is a regular correspondent for Indian Country Today Media Network and is author of The Journey Home (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2012) and Roche Harbor (Arcadia, 2009). Four of his poems were published in the Spring 2011 Yellow Medicine Review. 

The Revelation

It came to him many years
after his Great-Grandmother
walked on,

that she had planted the seed
that afternoon on the lawn
of Auntie’s house,

when in a quiet moment they sat
and just looked at each other,
as if studying each other’s faces,
and her eyes seemed to lock onto

something inside of him.

He didn’t know then that she
was looking into his soul,
that she was seeing his future,
was planting a seed
of protection for him.

The boy loved and feared his

feared perhaps, her Power,

this little woman who knew how to
heal using herbs and other plants,

knew prayers that kept the home
safe from harm,

knew how to coax a frightened soul
back to its body.

It was after this day that the boy
started doing unusual things.

He would go out into the field
and coax toads out of the ground,
and hold them in his hands.

He didn’t know then that these
were the children of Bobok,
who brought fire to the Yaqui world,
checking the Fire in his soul.

And when the boy and his
family moved back to the city,

the boy felt compelled to go out
into the garage one day,
and drum and sing
for the first time.

He was like a fawn lost in the woods,
crying out to its mother,

a lone voice crying out
in a cultural wilderness.

but the Great-Grandmother heard
the song, and knew her child
was all right,

knew that he would be the
culture keeper,

the carrier of the
family’s history and stories.

She knew that when she walked on
the next year,

that the Fire would continue
to burn in his heart
and would light his way
on his journey,

would guide him through a gauntlet
of troubles,

of alcoholism and divorces,
of sadness and loss,

so that he wouldn’t forget who
he was and would come back
to all that is good
and right and healthy.

And so it did.

And the Keeper returned home.