The things I might have learned

composting words

Heal-all Heal-all Source: Wikipedia

If my Abenaki grandmother
did not have to live white,
I might have learned
the uses for heal-all, burdock and spirea.
How to read the meaning
in a wolf call.

I might have learned
to weave baskets of sweetgrass,
the best time to dig
the root of the blackberry,
the names of the healing plants
that live in the bogs and wetlands.
How the crow lost its song.

I would have learned
that children are
cherished by my tribe,
meant to be seen and heard
and encouraged to discover
their own voice and gifts
to contribute to the community.

I would have learned
about the changes in the wind,
why the mountains call to my heart,
and to take strength from the feeling
of the soil beneath my feet.
How to live in balance
and only take
what the earth can give.

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