hour 24 most at home

in the silence of my mornings

pen in hand

i write the dust from my heart

to make my world whole and filled with love


after the ugliness of the unseen

has left its mark on my heart.


those early words on the tip of my pen

frees the pain

and heals the wounds too small to see.


r. l. elke

hour 23 by this light held slowly

by this light held slowly

the universe opens up to the heart of all that is

in the soft hands of darkness

waiting for dancing to stop

so the fullness of this moment can be realised

for those who have forgotten that

when we slow down the songs of crickets

they sound like opera

and when we hold the light of fireflies

they show us the universe.

r. l. elke

hour 22 to wake me up

if i keep my fingers moving

for a few minutes

i will keep my eyes from closing,

creating words instead of a jumble of letters

filling the glowing square with nonsense

or a language of my subconscious i never knew i knew.


pretty sure it’s more the former than the latter.

hour 21 a view from my childhood

this is the view from the roots of tall grasses

or grains grown in rich, black prairie soils

feeding the grasshoppers and me

for eons


i’d feel my back heat up from the sunbaked earth

looking up at the sky through the wisps of barley beards

or fox tails

waving to the swallows

from below.


it’s the times I knew who my Mother was

holding me in certainty

that I would return again

to this humble position,

staring up at the heads of wheat stocks

when there was nothing left of me but dust.

r. l. elke

hour 20 shadow steps

we would play kick the can under yard lights

on summer nights when city kids would be filling cars

to drive to hill tops to find themselves

by city lights

in the eyes of partners too shy to say no


we’d hide in lilac bushes

just past blooming

but still fragrant somehow,

waiting til shadows passed

to run to the coffee can

under the light

so we wouldn’t have to be “it”


i’d hold my breath


before i ran

as if this was more about life and death

and less about killing time in places where

we only piled in truck beds to help neighbors hay,

leaving passions to the city kids

who had time for such things

cuz we were too busy

holding our breaths before running for home.

r. l. elke

hour 19 reflections

i am a jar of mixed beads

filled with odds and ends

hoping for the needle to find a match

when i string pieces of me together

to make images in glass

fit for ceremony

hour 18 listen

“just be still and listen”

was taught to me by my elders

to connect to the lines of spirit

between all beings

made more loving for the teachings

vibrating in those golden threads

like rhizomes between plants

like prayers in the air.

they said you can’t hear the answers

if you’re always asking for them.

so I try to sit and listen,

so still I won’t scare the voices away.

r. l. elke


hour 18 invisible

if you knew what i know about loneliness

you would understand invisibility in the spaces between

privilege and righteousness

lives fully before disappearing into untethered expectations

of how we know how to live

in the pockets of longing to be recognized

for anything other than anything connected to

the toes of the boots of all those who came to take

what never belonged to them in the first place.



hour 15 kobade



arms linked in arms


arms around us all

link after link after link

forward and back

from home to home

to pieces of us in each other

like the eggs in th eggs in the eggs

of our great-grandmothers

in our great-grand daughters

concentrically linked to each other

“forward” and “back”

so that in our language

there are no separate words for

grandmother and grand daughter.


we’ve never been separated,

“forward” or “back”

only co-imagined pieces of each other

forced into spaces too small to contain us

“forward” or “back”-

even in the limits of our DNA:

the physical chain of kobade.

©r. l. elke      June 26/21

kobade is an Anishinaabebowin (the language of the Anishinaabe people of Turtle Island) word meaning the connection of generations moving “forward and back” (ie – we do not have a different word for grand daughter or grandmother…they are the same)


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