Elizabeth Tornes

Bijou Come Back as a Wolf

howling at dusk as I walk
down the National Forest Road,
the moon so bright I can see
my long shadow walking ahead of me
where she once walked.
The forest echoes with the barks,
yelps and cries of a wolf, never before
so close to home, her spirit
good company for a solitary
walk in winter dusk
trees shivering around us
as my first year
without her begins.

In Memory of Biidwebiisaaban (The Sound of Rain Coming)

For Gisele and Robin

The whole thing is wrong.
The small white coffin on the table,
shiny as a doll’s bed, two feet long,
harbors a baby.

Biidwebiisaaban should have been feeling
better by now, his cold all gone. The drum
booms and echoes in the sunlit dining hall.
He should be taking a nap

at this time of the afternoon.
The singers, his aunties and uncles, should be smiling,
not weeping, as they file past him.
Their arms emptied, his mom and dad

cling to each other for life
now that he is gone.
We pray that he will find his way
to the spirit world, where his grandmas

and grandpas await him. They will know
which toys he likes best, how he likes
his belly rubbed, and they will give him
buckskin to chew on, as he is still teething.