Ravens found her face down, floating
in the irrigation canal up North Crow
Creek, her home below the Mission Range,
this woman who walked on her hands.
As far as anybody knows, nobody knows
what happened. No witnesses. Why is it
some have all the luck? She lost her father
at eleven, her mother at nineteen. Orphaned
in a cow-town on the rez. She raised horses
& eyebrows — her door always open to drifters,
doubters, girl friends & dogs: the big family she wanted,
craved. In what slick disguise did Death arrive that day?
Was he quiet as the stones & driftwood
she collected from the ditch, or bitter-sick
as jittery hands haunted by screams — the agony
of wicked blood? Either way, the result eddied
in debris. The vulnerable are so vulnerable: no
matter she could work a chain saw all day long,
strong as the man she was in her heart.
She never felt alone outside: clearing brush,
burning fields, walking nights through the pines.
Before or after the cold surprise, maybe
Death showed her a pasture on the other side —
some country where ravens fly & water flows.