We walked until there was no sound,
we walked until we only heard
the noise we made, then we walked
farther, until only the sky could see us.

We walked to where the water
was sacred, its speak, a prayer,
then we regarded it with distance,
so it could hear us when we came

and any water we might take
would have time to say goodbye
before leaving that which would stay.
You would imagine a number of women

to fit in a half dozen canoes, perhaps.
But there were many more. Women
who had birthed one thousand
children, some who came,

some who did not. Where we stayed,
the earth would eat you in holding you,
until you became one with it
and remembered she is your mother.