Its rough paper felt shaved from ancient trees in

wide lines that gave my young ideas room to roam

On its red cover the chief’s proud profile

inspired me to carefully carve my words with

the sharp lead pencils I rode into prairie grasses

on the bare backs of palominos in the stories I wrote,

into forests I traversed in mythical moccasins

over ancestral footpaths, paddled downstream through

historical amnesia into the genocide of the American Indian

hidden behind the dusty chalk clouds of third grade

and the images I found by chance in a high school

library book at the end of The Trail of Tears