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Sunday, April 26, 2015


by Catherine Wald

“Much of the beadwork featured in many pieces — from Ka’igwu moccasins to a Ute tobacco bag — used tiny glass seed beads from Venice, Italy, acquired through trade with Europeans.” —Seattle Times review (February 20, 2015) of “Indigenous Beauty”  at the Seattle Museum of Art.

Fingertips clasping confetti colors, I grasp
                  glass beads of Venice to recount ravens,
                                    superimpose suns and hawks. In shades of
                                                      Roman frescoes, my fables spin out:
                                                                        breathless as clouds, self-contained as cacti.

Plunder purchased from ghost-people, even in service
                  of beauty, of love, comes at a cost I can't fathom as I
                                    caress and pierce these tiny hulks, adorn
                                                      my childrens’ tunics with their shimmer.

As I bead, prairies are denuded, tents torched.
                  As I braid, Armageddons are prophesied and fulfilled.
                                    As I stitch, our love affair with earth is defiled by
                                                      notions of ownership; our sons succumb to
                                                                        microbes; our daughters birth monkeys;
                                                                                          our rivers run black, then dry.

Catherine Wald's books include poetry (Distant, burned-out stars, Finishing Line Press, 2011), nonfiction (The Resilient Writer: Stories of Rejection and Triumph From 23 Top Authors, Persea Books, 2005) and a translation from French of Valery Larbaud’s Childish Things (Sun & Moon Press). Her poems have been published in American Journal of Nursing, Buddhist Poetry Review, Chronogram, Exit 13, Friends Journal, Jewish Literary Journal, The New Poet, Society of Classical Poets, The 5-2 Crime Poetry Weekly and Westchester Review.