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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

Feather Chronicles 2016  

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