Avabelle is the ancient Mother. Her antlers are the tree of life carrying the sun, birds, moon and stars. She comes during winter’s darkest nights, reminding us how to live a beautiful life. She is the proverb “approach boldly the throne of grace.”


by Louise Bernice Halfe


Two women stare at each other.
Grunts, groans, rippling, meowing and cawing,
they spin these songs:
Of a brook searching. A crane meditating.
A frog croaking. A mantis sucking on a fly.
A beaver caught in an iron jaw.
Thunder shuddered. A pair of lovers parted under a tree.
Lightning smiled through one’s heart.
Dew rolled into the woman’s basket.

The Inuit voices bounced, echoed against
their lodge, wet with death.

A deer rubbed her nose into her mate,
pranced into the meadow,
fell as an arrow flew.
Her robe sliced with fluttering hands.
Her bones become the scraper, skinning knife, needles
and flute. Her sinew thread, rawhide bowls, folding boxes,
drums and medicine bags.
Her skin a lodge of sticks and hide. Her hair, a mattress.
Close by, fur-covered men sat drumming.
This I saw, Ekweski, Turn-Around Woman. I am she.



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