I fought and choked in a slough of emotional backwash.
You know, said my teacher, you can wallow, or,
You can stand up here with me in the sunlight and watch the battle.
I climbed muddy up and looked around.
A skinny leech of perverted intelligence, bobbed about, looking for someplace to land.
No, I told suicide there are no handholds on my spirit.
I looked to its path to see its origin. I sent it back.
I became fascinated by the dance of dragonflies over the river.
This is where I found myself.
c Joy Harjo September 6, 2008 Albuquerque
I'm still working on this poem, especially line one.
I did see suicide as an energy looking for someplace to land, and backed away, studied it. I tracked it literally to a situation that happened in the university community a few years back to another native professor. It's related to the current state of affairs here. When there is not ceremony for putting away, for closing up, these things get loose.
Don't worry. I'm not suicidal now. I did struggle as a young native woman. Native youth often struggle with suicide. It's the most rampant killer of our young people.