Standing Rock Standoff

Standing uprising Rock brave
Standing Rock upright
saving land water graves sacred
remains
shielding treeless fields
heritage watershed prairie drum
pipe

bloodline
indigenous tribes original Standing
up vigilant surviving
on our history Standing
Rock
land risking
resisting withstanding dogs arrests
standstill disrupting corruption Dakota
Access excess turmoil
aquifer not for sale shale
oil rust leak spoil impunity

halt
stalwart Standing
Rock unfaltering line in the sand
standoff
unity online grapevine community sympathy
runners to Washington
decision
reservation dispatch transmission
digging in camping
keeping
Rock steadfast still Standing
watching.

Red Horse in Saint Paul

street light, winter tree
steamy fog, gingery tea, jazz beat,
lamp, warm white
paper, cool air, soul search, soft
chair, knee tucked—there’s

that horse again. neon red.
fire-engine mare
clop ruddy clop-clops
past mind window
down Saint Paul lamplit
reverie street. glimpse—

remember:
tender kid, bruised, accused
in winter twilight Saint Paul
playroom—refused shame, trusted play
fled, astride blush crimson plush
mount—still

today chooses bold primary
colors—rides
evening air
on bright hot blood-red toy steed
right here right onto real wake-up
grown-up page. asks coolly

for paper and a pencil.

Amby’s Manhattan

Two bedrooms. Second floor St. Paul
walkup,
no air. Upright
piano. Kitchen
for one. Living room oriental
rug from St. Mark’s
church sanctuary.
Father at St. Peter’s
State Mental Hospital.

Amby’s grandfather hangs
over the sofa. His mother sits,
dinner ready, in the brocade
wing chair. He will be on the Queen Anne.

Just
ahead of their Walter Cronkite, TV
trays set,
Amby swings
into action. Taste, economy, self-control—
lifelong
cerebral palsy—
demand ritual
precision. Opens the oven
where they keep the pretzels, closes it, sets

out ice cube tray, glasses
three—I’m their guest—
bottles
of sacramental hooch, bitters,
shaker
cherries, an orange.

Mimi Jennings has taught French in American public schools and English in the French system. She takes meditation to women in prison and the Transition Town movement to her neighborhood. Her mother’s art and her words won St. Catherine University’s Alumnae Creative Work award. She writes rap, blues, family stories.
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