My nieces are the young girls
looking down from the dancing calendar,
smiling as they smile, eyes, the same mouths,
and fully dressed where just one
seemed to want the music for her steps.

shawls are the butterfly wings
feather tufts are crowns of glory
shawls are the butterfly wings
around they would have danced them
around the drum they will sing.

The calendar seems the right image for now.
I’ve seen one girl in the crowd of
dancers at Schemitzun, others
on the fringe of memory from a years’ gone
pow wow obscurity, dressed in sweatshirt and jeans.

Leggings are the dancing flowers
patterns beaded or applique
leggings are the dancing flowers
around they will always dance them
around the town they will always sing.

Poems by Ron Welburn (Accomac Cherokee, Lenape, and African American) have recently appeared in The Common, Yellow Medicine Review, and Brilliant Corners. His seventh collection of poems is Council Decisions: Revised and Expanded Edition, (Bowman Books, 2012). He is now an emeritus professor in the English department at UMass Amherst.