Walking Through Fallen Berries
by Tara L. Masih

    Plimoth Plantation, 1992

    Distant daughter of Hobbamock
    paid to stand watch over remains
    of his past life.
    Hut, line, clay pots, baskets--Homesite--
    rebuilt for us tourists,
    pilgrim land now walked by the world.
    I want to know how they survive today,
    the Wampanoags,
    the rest,
    in such hostile territory.
    I have to break through character,
    through script,
    through recitations on clay and corn
    to get to this woman's
    heart.
    Her war mask slowly cracks
    and opens like a gift,
    and I receive
    her answer:
    "Because we love the land."

    How rich, to love so surely it carries you through the death of
    tradition,
    self,
    soul--
    or not . . .

    And I imagine it is like walking
    through fallen berries,
    trying to shake free the heavy,
    rotten deeds
    of past and present
    that cling
    to a great spirit.






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