Native I Am, Cocopa

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Contributor: Michael Lee Johnson

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Now once great events fading
into seamless history,
I am mother proud.
My native numbers are few.
In my heart digs many memories
forty-one relatives left in 1937.
Decay is all left of their bones, memories.
I pinch my dark skin.
I dig earthworms
farm dirt from my fingertips
grab native
Baja and Southwestern California,
its soil and sand wedged between my spaced teeth.
I see the dancing prayers of many gods.
I am Cocopa, remnants of Yuman family.
I extend my mouth into forest fires
Colorado rivers, trout filled mountain streams.
I survive on corn, melons, and
pumpkins, mesquite beans.
I still dance in grass skirts
drink a hint of red Sonora wine.

I am mother proud.
I am parchment from animal earth.

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MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era: now known as the Itasca, IL poet. Today he is a poet, freelance writer, photographer who experiments with poetography (blending poetry with photography), and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois, who has been published in more than 750 small press magazines in 26 countries, he edits 7 poetry sites. Michael is the author of The Lost American: From Exile to Freedom (136 pages book), several chapbooks of poetry, including From Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago Poems. He also has over 69 poetry videos on YouTube.


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