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Syndic Literary Journal

Collage ~ Miwok Grinding Rock

Created/Narrated By Sacramento Artist Jeanette Nelson


For the Asking 

Deep, quiet, burial, Miwok land, my elder bones rest,

Shaken, shocking verberations, scaring, a lift, an arising,

Sky and soil, air and light,

“Where are my Miwok families?”

“Who is needing me?”

Across town, her pain reached, living in angst,

Ungrounded, yet ground-down from whole to half,

Tidy, manicured-spaces, mowed by design, unfound soul,

Her wish, she dreams, could she receive guidance with me?

My wonder, “Could I reach her, contact, connect, soothe?”

Toward my heart, her gait, gentle, forwarding,

Hike, a rare open space, reverent, a burrow of owls,

Her call for me, eyes of respect, heart up, ready and real,

Still now, a searching, a risk, for the asking, humbled,

“What would you like me to know?”

My chosen task for her, an unearthing, soul grinding sign,

Truth test, proof, a belief guarantee, my answer, clear,

“Go Home.  Dig a hole in your backyard.”

She receives, not believes, instantly feeling teased, foolish,

tricked, disrespected, a failing, not an answer,

Her disillusionment, as with mine,

“Why did I even try?”

Fury, determined, takes me on,

One patch, undug, hidden, no cul-de-sac view,

She attacks to dig, to disprove, a physical angst in action,

Elbow-deep, impatient fingers, hand shovel pressure,

Grit takes it, deeper down, her hands land,

A rounding surface, further, a bend down, around,

Scraped fingers, weak knees, shoulders, spine, worn heart,

Rocking pulls, weight-shifting, circling, fingertips underneath,

Budging, a heft lift, too heavy, up onto chest, hoist, sandy, raw,

One stone, rock, birthed, unexamined, sandy still, set aside,

Dismayed, a kick of dirt, she backs backs backs away,

Shamed, saddened, only, “A rock?”

Days pass, her daughter, a play name, ‘Runs like the Wind’,

Seeks out the hidden, tucked, she finds my sandy swollen stone,

Power of curious youth, strong strain, rolls with a faith,

Sky and soil, air and light, awe,

This young one, seeks her Mother,

Asking one question




What’s with the

Grinding Rock







Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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