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ᑭᐍ

Processed with RNI Films. Preset ‘Kodachrome 50’s’

Weweni go. We’ve already gone west. We’re about halfway out the door mentally, at least. When I sleep, my body lets me see where my spirit went. Last night I was in a room full of almost-elders, their soft faces like frybread dough, the glow of would-be brown under their ghost-white wrinkles.

One of them, a darker woman covered in sunspots, smiled and told me where all the knowledge goes when colonialism hits hardest. I always assumed it was crushed like bones beneath black boots, crushed into a fine powder and beaten into the dirt. She shook her head. Pointed with her lips at a shadow out the corner of my eye.

“Everyone can find their way home,” she said. “Even you,” but she wasn’t talking to me, there. She meant for me to tell you–she was talking about you.

Even you, in the moments where you’re holding onto what’s left of your heart, halfway out of the kitchen or into the bedroom, that quick split second of “Why am I here, again?” When you shake your head and your eyes go soft. You sleep and your body remembers.

“That’s the doorway,” she said about the shadow. “The door is open.” She pursed her lips and shook her head. A mix of sadness, fury, joy, and disbelief crossed her face in a single sweep. “The door is open,” she repeated.

There are dreams and there are Dreamers, though everyone has their turn. It’s inside of all of us.

Even nonnatives–I met a Russian man once who slept a week in my homeland, and on the last night he dreamed of the Star People. He felt small compared to all they’d shown him. His big blue eyes were so wide, like he tried to keep them open. True story. Every time he blinked, he saw them again. Something in him is changing, will continue to change.

It’s not always so straightforward. For example: you are standing in a vast, turbid body of water. You look down. See your naked legs mobbed by ancient fish. Primordial beings. The kind of animal that outlived dinosaurs before they shrunk, else they went under, deep under, down into the abyss where they could exist as titans in peace. Now, though, every slow creature of the primal sea surrounds you. They bore into you with eyes older than the Bible. They bear your weight with something like maternity.

Maybe they’re your ancestors. Or maybe they’re the whole of Minnesota, calling you home. Isn’t it time you picked up the phone?

Mni-sota. Muddy waters.

Muddy Waters. Like that singer my we’enh showed me on her computer–his the kind of voice you could trust because it was so belly-deep and mountainous. My home is in the delta, way out on that farmer’s road.

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