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Feather Chronicles 2016 Edition


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Feather Chronicles, 2016 Edition Now in our ninth year of publication, Feather Chronicles continues to grow and improve. Works of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction stand alongside beautiful photography and art to create this sparkling panoply. This edition includes creative work from several authors and poets contributing to the magazine for the first time. Among them are poets Alex Adamski, Burton Arthur, Jacqueline Braun, Citralina Haruo, Darian Isaac, Sam Knapp, and AnnMarie Spice, along with storywriters Ashley Peters, Jenna Steeno, and Rhiannon Boyd. Their work appears alongside contributions from talented writers and artists whose work appeared in previous issues: Mary Anne Hill, Dale Kakkak, Sabrina Hemken, Dolly Potts, Madona Wilber, and Melissa Wilber. As always, Feather Chronicles thanks our contributing authors and artists. The cover image, Blue Sky, is by Madona Wilber. The 2016 edition of Feather Chronicles is published online through the digital publishing platform, Issuu.com. Everything published in the magazine since the first issue in 2008 is accessible in one online place, with consistent formatting that features state-of-the-art appearance and paging. Thanks to CMN’s Webmaster, Sue Delrow, for developing this platform for the magazine and for her work formatting and uploading content.

Feather Chronicles is produced by College of Menominee Nation students and includes contributed work from students (current, former, and future), CMN staff and faculty, and anyone engaged in the college’s many community activities. Submissions are welcome; please email them to DVickers@menominee.edu. The content of Feather Chronicles is protected by copyright controlled usually by the original author and in all other cases by Feather Chronicles. U.S. and international copyright laws apply and visitors may not reproduce any content except for personal, non-commercial use.

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Table of Contents Forest Story by Dolly Potts ............................................................................................................................................... 5 Forest Sentinel by Madona Wilber ................................................................................................................................ 7 Disappointments Waiting to Happen by Citralina Haruo...................................................................................... 8 Sprinkled Leaf by Madona Wilber .................................................................................................................................. 9 Dust Bath by Sam Knapp ................................................................................................................................................. 10 Carpe Diem by AnnMarie Spice .................................................................................................................................... 10 A Bird in the Hand by Madona Wilber ........................................................................................................................ 11 Kitchen Memories by Mary Anne Hill ......................................................................................................................... 12 Stained Glass by Melissa Wilber ................................................................................................................................... 15 Catching Some Rays by Dale Kakkak .......................................................................................................................... 16 Sun Flowers by Sabrina Hemken ................................................................................................................................. 17 Choice by Citralina Haruo ............................................................................................................................................... 17 Leaves on Pavement by Madona Wilber ................................................................................................................... 18 Grandpa’s old farm by Alex Adamki ........................................................................................................................... 19 W2809 Chief Little Wave Road by Darian Isaac ....................................................................................................... 19 Peafowl by Madona Wilber ............................................................................................................................................ 20 Rocky Roots by Madona Wilber .................................................................................................................................... 21 Curious Choices by Jacqueline Braun......................................................................................................................... 22 Camp Fire Song by Burton Arthur ............................................................................................................................... 22 General Store by Madona Wilber ................................................................................................................................. 23 Our Lady Of The Woods by Ashley Peters ................................................................................................................. 24 Indian Route by Madona Wilber................................................................................................................................... 25 Space on the Wall by Mary Anne Hill .......................................................................................................................... 26 Road into the Sunset by Sabrina Hemken ................................................................................................................ 27 Words a Daughter Should Never Hear by Jenna Steeno ..................................................................................... 28 Troubled Sky by Sabrina Hemken ............................................................................................................................... 29 Burnt Offerings by Sabrina Hemken ........................................................................................................................... 30 Dark Sky by Melissa Wilber............................................................................................................................................. 31 Her Forest, Her Birds, Her Horse by Rhiannon Boyd .............................................................................................. 32 Forest Brook by Madona Wilber ................................................................................................................................... 34

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Forest Story by Dolly Potts As the woman ran toward the forest she heard the songs in her head - the water song, the food song, and the prayer song passed through her thoughts as she covered the distance to the tree line. The woman recently lost a child in an accident. In preparation for the four days to come, she asked her circle to hold a ceremony for her. The grief she felt was so miserable she could not focus on what she now must do. All her circle came together and sang the songs of blessings for her. Now she must go into the forest to release her grief and face the preparations for her child’s journey into the afterlife. She ran through calf length grass, over the prairie flowers and the sandy loam of the field. She ran across a rainbow of color, grasses in hues of green and gold. Prairie flowers dotted the field with pastel hues like scattered pieces of confetti strewn about. All around the woman colors and light displayed happiness that she could not feel anymore. Her feet pounded the rhythm of the shaker and the songs echoed in her mind. The bottom of her skirt skimmed over the grass smoothly through the flowers. The woman focused only on what was in front of her. She was running and she did not want to trip or fall. She looked up to see the edge of the forest coming rapidly toward her. The field was awash with light and color but the forest edge was a deep, dark, green waiting to envelope her in the darkness. The darkness was where her emotions lay, deep in her chest wrapped around her heart. She felt completely washed in anguish for the tragedy that had befallen her. As she moved into the edges of the tree line, she immediately felt the coolness of the shading canopy on her skin. The cold quelled her elevated heart rate and temperature. Around her was a deep emerald green foliage. Her eyes adjusted to the darkness. The quiet enveloped her like a soft green velvet robe stopping the songs and replacing them with crystal calmness. The woman’s movement slowed and with measured steps she began to walk down the path in the forest. Under her feet the softness of the moss on which she walked calmed her mind. The woman knew that this was her escape from her grief, here in the forest. She would continue down the path until she found the tree to release her sadness. She would know when she came to the tree that would receive her prayers. The woman passed through the trees, massive pines and huge oaks standing like strong chieftains in the forest. Her steps were measured and respectful, she knew that she was in the presence of her people’s royalty. The woman was in a court of spirituality greater than herself. The woman went to her family for comfort after the accident. People could only sympathize; she still felt the crushing grief. Her child’s death left a dark monster consuming her emotions. Looking up at the tall, stately giants over her she felt the soothing strength of the trees. Soaring into the sunlit sky these giants reached into the heavens closer to Creation 5 | Page


than people. The trees would take the woman’s remorse to the universe and return it to her as energy to face life. This was the reason for the ceremony; she would pour her grief into one of these giants leaving it there so she might heal. Ahead of her stood the giant sentinel standing in the forest. The woman drew a deep breath at the sight. Dark, rippled brown bark blanketed the trunk. Deep grooves lined the massive circumference. Enormous limbs reached for the sky above forming an intricate mesh of veins carrying warmth and water to nourish the chief. The leaves of the giant were jade jewels perfectly draping the chief like a robe. Some of the leaves pointed upward, sending life giving oxygen into the atmosphere, while all turned poisons into nourishing air. The woman quickened her step. When she reached the tree she threw her arms around the trunk. The bark was rough against her cheek. The sharpness pressed into her skin bringing back her awareness of her life and memories of her child. As she wept, the woman inhaled a deep breath and filled her lungs with the air of healing. When she exhaled she let out a loud, long, wailing cry. She put into the cry all the dark monster’s hurt, all the dark monster’s pain. Completely spent, she collapsed to her knees and drew her hand slowly over the bark, caressing. She sank to the moss covered earth. A relieving sigh followed as the woman felt the dark monster leave her soul. There was no other sound in the forest but the sound of the woman. It was as if the animals stopped their noises in a moment of silence. The woman looked skyward and said a quiet prayer of thanksgiving in her mind. Using the tree as support the woman rose to face the world. The woman walked back through the forest with the medicine of the forest healing her spirit. She knew in time she would feel happy and whole again. The happy memories of her child would always be in her heart - By going to the forest she placed them there. She put the tragedy somewhere for Creation to take care of. The woman would not pick it up again or let it wash over her spirit. She felt strong enough to face the preparations for her child’s journey. She had left the dark monster in the forest and received rejuvenation for her soul. The sun shone through the leaves of the forest dappling her path. Her faith in Creation had been restored; now she must restore order to her life.

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Forest Sentinel by Madona Wilber

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Disappointments Waiting to Happen by Citralina Haruo 8:43 am‌ I want to not want Because wanting is expecting And expecting is the setup for disappointment I want to be stronger than I feel I want to live outside my head I want to exist aside from my heart I want to not feel guilty for my love I want to be free from my thoughts Because it seems my brain is rotten I want to see things in truth But I know that all truths have not yet come to light I want to be heard I want to be valued I want to be equal I want to understand why This list is a list of disappointments Waiting to happen

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Sprinkled Leaf by Madona Wilber

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Dust Bath by Sam Knapp Head twitching and turning about, the hen spies the ground, pauses, then clucks with approval at her chosen spot. She braces, grips the ground firmly with taloned toes, and with a quick backward kick, thrusts a foot skyward, left then right, right then left. A dust cloud rises in the dry air as she dances in place, and bare earth appears beneath her feet lining the sunken bowl of once lush grass. She shakes quickly to end the dance and fluffs her feathers like songbirds in winter’s cold. Sinking into her freshly dug hole, she rubs and rolls and twirls to work the dry silt through all her secret places. She pauses briefly with lids half-closed in contentment and, watching my stare with a sideways glace, wonders if might ever understand.

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Carpe Diem by AnnMarie Spice How else to live other than, “seize the day”? Why contemplate it all since life is short? Because there is no other honest way The last thing one should be done is contort. Nothing is wrong with an honest mistake. Why sneak around, only seen, but not known? When you can make a difference and partake All that can be discovered and regrown. There are far off lands still to be conquered And villains seeking a hero’s demise Just give it a real chance to uncover, And you will be in for a real surprise. Looking back the choices made were dangerous Still no regrets remain, forever treacherous. 10 | P a g e


A Bird in the Hand by Madona Wilber

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Kitchen Memories by Mary Anne Hill My mother’s kitchen was a training camp for anorexics. She combined a pinch of cooking skill with a trace amount of culinary interest and mixed in a quart of “waste not, want not” mentality left over from The Great Depression. She decided on the time, the menu, the presentation, the portion size and the rules. She mandated that her children would remain seated at the table until all the food had vanished from their respective plates. I remember afternoons of minute-by-minute, ticking away torture, as cold, dead, peas stared up at me from around the periphery of the plate where I’d pushed them to make it look like I had eaten the majority in the middle. As the sun began to sink in the west, the peas began to shrivel and harden. The acrid smell and mushy texture of peas still makes me gag. I was a small, skinny kid, though very active and healthy. My genetic imprint was to be petite. My older brother and younger sister were destined to be larger and were, from the beginning, better eaters. My mother decided that my size and weight was a direct reflection of her mothering abilities and that people looked at me and found her wanting. No one ever said that, of course, but she decided that as a “home-maker and mother of the ‘50’s,” her mission on earth was to force her children to eat everything on the food pyramid. If any of us protested, she reminded us of “the starving children in China.” I sat at my place at the table with both hands pulling my eyes into slits, willing myself to BE one of those starving Chinese children, grateful to wolf down ten peas and live. Sometimes my imagination deluded me enough that I cleaned my plate before the next meal. However, the extended time I spent in the kitchen after lunch, contributed to a six-year-old’s version of strategic planning. We had a dog, a boxer named Cindy, whose food and water bowls were in an alcove, just off the kitchen. Sometimes, I could surreptitiously snap my fingers, enticing Cindy to approach me under the table, where I slipped her some peas. Sometimes I could fire the peas, like free throws, into Cindy’s food bowl. The danger was that, if I missed, my mother might come back into the room, see the peas on the floor near the dog bowl, and punish me by giving me more. This was often a risk I was willing to take. After hours of practice, I became a pretty good shot. Our kitchen had a built-in, red Naugahyde, booth-like seat that curved around the corner of two walls. The table had been specifically designed to fit the customized bench seating. The table had a wood ledge underneath the Formica covered top, which anchored the table legs and let them curve inward so that one could slide into the seat without cracking kneecaps. I lined up plenty of contraband vegetables on the ledge underneath the table, chewing air like a Chia pet, pretending to swallow and finally passing muster on my clean plate. Later, when my mother was outside hanging wash on the clothesline or occupied in another part of the house, I would crawl under the table, remove the food I had stashed there, put it in a paper towel, shove it into my pocket and casually announce that I was going for a ride on my bike. When I was out of sight, I would pedal like crazy until I reached the edge of town where I dug the paper towel mush out of my 12 | P a g e


back pocket and threw the food into acres of alfalfa, though I doubted that even the field mice would eat my mother’s cooking. Three blessings saved me from an aversion to food and my mother’s “Feminine Mystique” needs to find identity and meaning in being a three-meal-a-day wife and mother. My most reliable savior was my father, whose constant message was that he loved us and didn’t want us to be hungry or unhappy. He also really liked to eat and was a plain, but wonderful cook. He was never concerned in the slightest if we took small portions or said we were full. He’d just say, “That’s fine. Tell me if you want more. No one’s ever starved on my watch.” Unfortunately, he only cooked on weekends. He would fire up his Weber on Saturday and grill enough steak and bratwurst to get us through the following Wednesday. He would often add baked potatoes wrapped in tin foil and a blackened baking pan full of onions and mushrooms swimming in butter. He seldom cooked vegetables and never included peas. I had no problem eating my Dad’s leftovers. The other person who rescued me from my mother was my paternal grandmother, who lived two blocks away. She, too, was a wonderful cook who always seemed to anticipate that she would have company for meals, which she often did. I used to think she originated the term, “soup kitchen.” She always kept a big pot of homemade soup on the back burner of her old-fashioned stove. The type of soup changed, but it was always there. She also baked homemade bread and cutout sugar cookies and always had them on hand. I ate most Thursday and Friday meals at my grandmother’s house. The third resource I developed in my childhood was a careful choice of friends. I would hang around my neighborhood friends’ houses during the late afternoon. Many of my friends’ fathers worked shifts at a near-by plant and arrived home at four o’clock, much earlier than my dad came home from his law practice. We ate about 6 o’clock. My friends ate at 5. It was easy to discern which of my friends’ moms were good cooks. I often offered to help pick or shuck the fresh vegetables most people grew in their gardens. While husking fresh corn, my strategy was to say loudly, “Oh, I just LOVE corn on the cob and we NEVER have this at home (Deprived child that I am, was the intimation.) The response would always be, “You’re welcome to have dinner with us. If you’d like, I’ll call your mother and tell her.” I’d look demure and say, “That would be swell, if it’s not too much trouble.” I was singing inside with every bite of corn; butter oozing down my chin! It surprised me that my mother didn’t protest at the number of times I ate at other tables. I thought maybe she was relieved because she did not have to stand guard over my interminable clean plate ordeals. Maybe she was happy not to have someone there as a constant reminder that her bake dish was not getting passing grades.

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I received an insight one afternoon when I overheard my mother talking to several neighbor women. One of them said, “You really should make corn on the cob. Your daughter always eats several ears at our house.” Others chimed in about how much I ate at their houses and how much I liked certain dishes. “Really?” My mother said disbelieving. “You know, she eats like a bird at home. I don’t know how she stays alive. I’m so worried about her. I have to force her to eat.” Mrs. Nelson said, “And how is that working for you?” My mother said, “It isn’t. It doesn’t work at all. I have to spend hours checking on her and she just sits at the table and dawdles, sometimes cries. It’s awful.” Mrs. Nelson, an outspoken former nurse, said, “Well, I don’t know why you would continue to do that, when it’s clearly not working. She isn’t sick, doesn’t have rickets, and probably eats when she’s hungry. I think you should back off. I’ve never yet seen a child starve when there’s food in front of them.” I wanted to kiss her and ask if she would adopt me, but I wasn’t supposed to be listening. My mother seemed to process what Mrs. Nelson said. She slowly changed procedures. We were allowed to select the amount of food for a meal, although we had to “try” everything and to clean our plate. I learned to spoon one pea, and sample half a teaspoon of unknown dishes. Way before it was politically correct; I was into “small portions” and the “slow food movement.” Food means important things to most people. For many, there is joy in preparing food and pleasure in sharing it with others. I have heard people rhapsodize about their mother’s spaghetti sauce or cherry pie. I have seen people come home from a hard day and cook a large pot of macaroni and cheese as comfort food. I have a hard time grasping the concept of comfort food. For me, the connection between feeling good about preparing and eating food has never been made. I am not an emotional eater. Under stress, I forget to eat, do not register hunger. I like to eat on my feet, without the possibility of being trapped behind a table. I often feel a sense of freedom when I skip meals and no one notices. I no longer feel guilty when I leave food on my plate and someone takes it away. I regard food as a source of energy and nutrition. I have forgiven my mother for taking bad cooking to an art form and forcing me to view the exhibition. I will never again eat peas.

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Stained Glass by Melissa Wilber

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Catching Some Rays by Dale Kakkak

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Sun Flowers by Sabrina Hemken

Choice by Citralina Haruo I blame the slowly shrinking walls of anxiety, passion, alienation and brokenness For keeping people at bay, but in reality, I know it’s me. My refusal to ask for help shackles me with invisible bindings. This prison of pride enslaves my voice, yet misery sings, but I am the only prisoner, so nobody hears it but me.

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Leaves on Pavement by Madona Wilber

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Grandpa’s old farm by Alex Adamki The turkey’s gobble in the morning The crisp air in the fall sunrise The high pitch chirp of the Blue Jay The dead leaves below your feet The dark violet and orange leaves The sound of weaves acorns falling chattering of the red squirrel bubbling brooks and its calming waters The sight of an abandoned old tractor Natures overtake of the farmer’s field The fading red color of the barn Still here after all these years ____________________________________________________________________________

W2809 Chief Little Wave Road by Darian Isaac She came into our home from Chicago She was small and had an ever so shaggy-do She was a little Yorkshire Terrier She was mine and I was her’s too. I would fill her food and water dish Or let her eat off my own plate. Isla was her name, She was my little English mate. We called her Isla Bean She knew her name A mischievous little dog, Be we loved her all the same. 19 | P a g e


Peafowl by Madona Wilber

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Rocky Roots by Madona Wilber

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Curious Choices by Jacqueline Braun Where shall we go on this beautiful day? Lots of things to peak curiosity We could tunnel under Chesapeake Bay Virginia Beach a fine coastal city On the east side of the town is the beach Sun and sand are a plenty for all to see Pretty birds that beg to eat or they screech Maybe turn round and for the mountains reach Up and up we drive on, headed for the trees The air gets thin but the sun shines brightly The trees are rustic scented on the breeze Fall like colors start to show just slightly Nature’s beauty is all around our home We are blessed to have the freedom to roam.

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Camp Fire Song by Burton Arthur I can smell the embers as they fade away to night Smoldering in the dusty gray and lighting with a glow Like a color that fades and waiting to take flight As I hear the whippoorwill sing that same old song The night air is crisp as I want to sing along Can you even smell the darkness and I can see the stars The smell of embers still fade away to dark the night has come and the day has ended Tonight I smell the embers as they fade away to dark The embers have disappeared And know it’s only dark

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General Store by Madona Wilber

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Our Lady Of The Woods by Ashley Peters One cloudy afternoon I found myself driving down Highway 55. Trees hugged the sides of the road. It was late September and the trees had just started to turn red, yellow, and orange. Fall was in its prime. Houses I passed were decorated with Halloween decor, with flying ghosts in trees and witches hanging from roofs. After the last house, I continued up the road until I came across an old Native road. Gravel started as the white man’s road ended. The road also got narrower. The trees hovered over the road as if to protect it from strangers. As I drove down this bumpy road, the first thing that caught my eye was a statue of Jesus with holes in it. It sat in the middle of a cemetery on top of a 3-foot high brick platform. It had brush growing over the back. The grass was growing around the headstones and broken trees blocked the road. I looked around and found a lady sitting on a fold-out chair in the far back. She was sitting in front of a headstone talking. This is where I was to meet Mrs. Keona Lewis. As I got out of my car, she stopped talking, looked over with her dark brown eyes and motioned for me to join her. I approached with caution, not knowing if she was going to continue her conversation with the headstone. As I got closer, I could see that she hadn’t aged well. She had crow’s feet around her eyes and her face had lost its smooth tone. Now there were pock marks and large freckles that covered her forehead. Her hair was black as night and went down to the middle of her back. She got out of the chair and waited for a minute before turning towards me. She must have lost 30 pounds since the last time I saw her, but she still had that pear-shaped body. "Well I'm glad you’re here!" she said in her teacher’s voice. She could never talk normally. It always seemed she was trying to teach you something. I bent down and gave her a hug. I had to bend down - the woman is only 5'1. She turned and walked slowly back to her chair. I waited for her to sit and then I asked, "So, Keona, why did you bring me out here?" "Did you know the first time my brother saw this place, he told my mother he wanted to be buried here?" she said. I looked at this frail old woman not knowing if I should answer. She went on: "He died a month later. Everyone said it was an accident but I know it wasn't! That boy who shot him was mad because my brother stole his girlfriend. He was to young to die!” She paused before continuing. “They said my dad died from a heart attack! I don't believe that. He came here to tell my mom he was getting a divorce. She didn’t know." There was a long pause. It looked as thou she didn't know where to pick back up. Her eyes searched the cemetery, ending with the headstone she had been talking to as I drove up. As she began to talk again, her bottom lip quivered and her left leg started to shake. "No one should have to bury their child,” she said, “and I had to bury two. A part of me is gone and I will not get that back.” She smiled sadly. “Still, I will see them again and I talk to them all the time.” 24 | P a g e


Indian Route by Madona Wilber

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Space on the Wall by Mary Anne Hill Got to yoga class early, a true traffic miracle, Allowing me a place on the wall to get my legs vertical. My curved spine won’t lie flat with my legs in a sprawl, But everything lands in sensation with my feet up the wall. Imagine my dismay as I peered through dim light, And saw a blue line of mats like battlefield blight, Jutting out from the walls, the mute myriad of mats, Holding space in the silence like overnight spats! Nowhere to go but an unfettered place in the middle, When and where were the Mat People, the obvious riddle? Just before time, six senior women zipped in the door, And took their sacred places, prime spots on the floor. What time do they get here to reserve the good sites? Do they plan it together? Do they stand in line overnight? Territorial possession, an oppressive theme of our nation, Even in yoga class, it’s all about location, location!! As I lay there irritated and vexed, making sabotage plans, A new person walked in, found no place, had to stand, Until the teacher, with quiet dignity, the room rearranged, And gave a lesson in the peace and justice of Eminent domain.

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Road into the Sunset by Sabrina Hemken

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Words a Daughter Should Never Hear by Jenna Steeno The funeral home was in my home town and it was flooded with strangers. It was a Monday in May and just warming up. The birds chirped, cars drove by, and my friends were all sitting in school. School seemed so far away at the time, but it was just down the road. My father told my siblings and me that we had to stay outside until they closed the casket. He told us he didn’t want us to remember our mother like that. To know that my mother rolled the truck multiple times and was ejected through the windshield left me to imagine and create the worst. I sat on a wooden chair in front of the funeral home and watched as cars whizzed by. My thoughts were my only company at that moment. The day I received the numbing news resurfaced. I was sitting in my math class that Wednesday learning how to multiply 9’s when there was a slow heavy knock at the door. My principal, a tall man with a large gut and round glasses, appeared in the doorway. “Jenna needs to be excused,” he told my teacher, Mrs. Broderick. “That’s not a problem, Mr. Morstead,” she replied. She turned back to the chalk board to continue her lesson. I slid out of my chair, confused, wondering what I had done to get called out of class. I started towards the door. Mr. Morstead shook his head and pointed at my desk. “Grab all of your stuff, your back pack too.” I nodded and backtracked to my desk to pick up my math book. I brought it back to my cubby and put it away. I then snagged my back pack and sweatshirt off the hook and walked to the door. Out in the hallway was my little brother and little sister looking just as confused as me. We exchanged looks wondering what all three of us had done to be called out of class. “We’re going down to the high school office,” he said. We began our slow walk down the long corridor. “So what did we do to get suspension?” I asked. “You aren’t in trouble,” he said. He had a pained smile plastered across his face that wouldn’t go away. “Oh, that’s good! So why are we going to the office?” He left my question unanswered and walked silently with that stupid smile glued to his face. With no clues, my mind searched for answers in a million directions. We finally came to the high school office and walked through to a back room. Mr. Morstead told us to open the door and go inside. What awaited inside would change my life forever. I opened the door and behind me followed my little brother and sister. My father and three older brothers were sitting at a big round table all bawling their eyes out. Perplexed, I wasn’t so sure how to react. My father shook his head, not wanting to tell us. He pulled my little brother and sister in for a hug. “Your Mom is gone,” he sobbed. I must have looked confused and he sobbed out “She passed away!” He bit his lip and closed his eyes. “She’s dead!” Then we understood crystal clear and the tears poured out from our eyes. Church bells rang bringing me back to the funeral home. I wiped my tear-stained face as my father came around the corner of the building. “I was wondering where you were,” he said. He put his arm around me and pulled me in for a tight hug. “Come on, it’s time for us to go inside,” he whispered as he kissed my forehead.

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Troubled Sky by Sabrina Hemken

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Burnt Offerings by Sabrina Hemken If my words get stuck in your mind And if my words tie themselves to your heart Would you follow them now and let me leave a mark There isn’t much difference between the blood on my hands And the blood still flowing through our bodies The color red means life and death all the same So when I look in the mirror with my skin ablaze I will know that I am truly alive So if you feel that you’re lost and there isn’t no returning Then you’ve come to understand what there is left of what’s worth knowing You can tag along forever but know you’re going nowhere fast If my fist gets stuck in the wall If my clenched teeth and the feeling gets too far to find Would you follow them now with the pains of being pure of heart I never understood the reason for the passing of time and the changing of the season Bitter roots and black leather boots Are all that I’ve got on the ground And I’ll be the first to know when your feelings are left undefended There are some fences that just can’t be mended If my words get lost on you If my words get thrown along side the road Would you trust that what I’ve been saying has never been true You’re the last know who has truly gotten to you The color of the changing leaves and the blood and fire aren’t so easily distinguished It’s this gift I give to you

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Dark Sky by Melissa Wilber

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Her Forest, Her Birds, Her Horse by Rhiannon Boyd As she was running, the white handmade dress constricted her legs and kept her from running her fastest. She knew the open courtyard would soon end. As she heard the castle guards’ armor clank and clunk behind her, she had to improvise quickly. She didn’t care about the value of the dress and didn’t think twice about tearing it. She thought of yesterday morning, how her future aunt-in-law and Head Mistress criticized her during the final fitting. She absolutely resented the dress, while others would have given their houses for it. Doing her best to keep her pace, she took off her shoes. Before she knew it, the cliff and vast lake were at her feet. She threw her shoes over the edge. She threw the torn piece of her dress over the rocky ledge, too. As a young girl, she spent many days playing in the courtyard with Charlie. They discovered a hidden path among the rocks of the cliff. It was overgrown now, for it had been years since she ventured this far. She hung on desperately to the vines that concealed her at the edge of the cliff. She watched the guards peer over. She hoped they would assume she jumped to her death. She knew it was the only way to escape marrying King Charles, her once beloved childhood companion. Too smart to make any sudden moves, she waited after the sounds of clanking and clunking ended, fearing a guard lingered behind. While she waited, the silence brought back love-filled memories of her three children and her dear husband. She knew the Head Mistress had something to do with his mysterious murder and now she was convinced her children’s disappearance wasn’t a coincidence either. Once grown, King Charles publicly expressed his love for her, even though she thought of him as a brother. The numbness in her fingers brought her back to reality; she couldn’t spare any time mourning. Now barefooted, she followed the unfamiliar path into the dense forest. As the sun set, a bird’s song seemed to lead her to a lush bed of soft, mossy bushes. It was perfect to lie on. She was exhausted. As she rested, the bird’s song changed to a slower rhythm that lulled her to sleep. When she awoke, she heard the bird again. Now the song was upbeat and there was a harmonizing duet. She was so delighted she almost forgot about her desperate circumstances. The birds flew together, drawing her deeper into the congested green forest. She and Charlie made the edge of the forest their favorite place to play; it always seemed magical. It was peaceful and she found peace there. As they grew older, she spent more time in the forest by herself while Charlie prepared to take the throne. She did her best to get along with him, include him, be patient with him, and make him feel loved, but Charlie was a troubled child. He was a favorite of his aunt, the Queen’s sister who became Head Mistress when the King and Queen passed. As she soaked in the peace of the forest, she recalled how as a girl she had been a favorite of the King and Queen. In fact, they adopted her from the orphanage. Even though she had no direct bloodline to the throne, Charlie envied her. Later that envy turned to anger and seemed to drive him mad. Ironically, she became the most sought-out, eligible maiden in the kingdom, even without the possibility of becoming Queen. With her contagious smile, optimistic nature, and beauty, it was easy to see why. But her eyes fixed on the one who would become her husband early on. He was four years older than her. He came to the orphanage frequently to sell his family’s produce. She got lost in his light brown eyes that glistened like gold. As they grew older, he also became fond of her. The Queen also visited the orphanage, where she volunteered as a teacher. That’s how the king and queen came to know the girl and, when she was only seven years old, adopted her. Now she followed the birds, knowing the thick forest was familiar to them. She didn’t think about food or water until hunger and thirst began to weaken her. She felt very weak and needed rest. At that

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time a third party joined the birds’ song. This new bird not only took the lead in their melody, she also took the lead on their journey. As she trusted her magical forest, she trusted the birds as well. Not long before the sun reached its highest point, she began to hear the sounds of water flowing through the forest. She smelled humidity and felt a cool mist on her face and body. Sure enough, she came upon a small waterfall that fell into a secluded lagoon. The birds found a shallow pool to bath and drink; they flittered and sputtered about. Without hesitating, she plunged into the cool water and rose to the surface, immediately feeling replenished. It wasn’t long before the birds insisted on continuing their journey. Afraid of losing them, she jumped out of the water and trailed behind. As they approached a clearing, the birds’ song became so joyful, she assumed something good was about to happen. The birds’ pace matched their song’s tempo and when they reached the clearing, they went separate ways. Afraid they had abandoned her, she began to run. The tree line broke and, to her surprise, she came upon lush fruit trees and bushes. Apples, pears, and strawberries caught her eye first; they were her children’s favorite. Quenched and full, the birds sat quietly close to her. This was the first time she was able to observe them without interruption. The first bird was emerald green and throughout their journey seemed the most spunky, comical, and obnoxious; which led her to believe that he wasn’t the oldest. The second bird was a shade of yellow, known to her as goldenrod. She was dainty, and elegant, but shy; which also led her to believe that she wasn’t the leader. The third bird, the iridescent, white, bold bird was definitely in charge. Not knowing what her future held, she was able to find refuge in her magical forest. She was comfortable with the birds and believed they felt the same way. She knew the forest was magical but she was still in awe about how familiar the birds seemed. As day turned to twilight, another up-tempo birdsong commenced. This one had a serious but compassionate tone. Being in the birds’ company gave her hope. She felt there might be a possibility she would never feel alone again. Alone is how she felt in the castle. Closing her eyes, leaning against an apple tree with the birds sleeping at her feet, she felt an overwhelming sense of security. But, as she rested, suddenly an abrupt, short, hot wind blew across the back of her neck and something nudged her shoulder. Uncertain if she should turn around, she looked to the birds, who awoke and reassured her. The most magnificent and powerful horse she had ever seen stood over her. He was so white he glowed, even in daylight. His amber eyes fixed on her as she stood up. As she extended her arm out to him, he moved forward and pushed his head into her chest and neck. He nuzzled her while she gently stroked his glowing coat. The horse’s eyes were spellbinding and suddenly recognizable. Many traits of the birds and now the horse were similar to those of her children and husband. She wondered if this was the magic of the forest at play. However, their connection was strong and she was determined to keep it that way. She vowed never to return to the castle. She became a legend to the villagers because she stood up to the evil Head Mistress and King Charles. Some say they can hear her singing with the birds whenever a child is born in the village. Some say they’ve seen her riding her glowing horse along the lake’s shores. No matter the tale, she lives in the forest among the birds that guide her, with her horse at her side. They have everything they need, especially each other. With each passing day, Rhiannon’s heart mends together, bit by bit, piece by piece.

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Forest Brook by Madona Wilber

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Feather Chronicles 2016  

Feather Chronicles is produced by College of Menominee Nation students and includes contributed work from students (current, former, and fut...

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