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Berdache

August 22, 2008

My vision comes slowly,
like foggy rays of sunrise—
flesh, a burning stick of sage,
blood, a fever of sand.

A woman and a warrior
race toward me,
run, like the mountain lion,
run, and simultaneously
enter me like arrows.

I awake, a shivering aspen,
feel the moon in my bones,
the grains of cross-pollination.

Tonight, I will fold my hair
like the wings of a butterfly,
place squash blossoms
in an arc about my neck,
dress in the dusty skirts
of my grandmother.

Tomorrow, I will weave with women,
learn to cook, tan, sew, and garden.
Someday, I will rear children
as if they were my own,
groom the hair of a husband
to protect him on a hunt,
serve my pueblo
with the goodness of the deer.

I rise from shadows’ depths,
surface with a surge of clarity:
my body gladly a vessel,
my dreams as deep as thunder.

I am two spirits now, a bridge
where sky and land are other.
The arrows of woman and warrior
forge a knot in my heart,
speak in a voice both
straw and mud, raven and bear.

by Scott Wiggerman

For more on the berdache, or two-spirit, see here.

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  1. August 23, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    My speaker and your speaker should make love. Nice work!

  2. August 23, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    Magical! I especially love “I will fold my hair / like the wings of a butterfly / place squash blossoms /in an arc about my neck” and then the soft echo in “groom the hair of my husband / to protect him on a hunt.”

  3. July 6, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    Beautiful piece.

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