To All My Native Sisters

By Mia Ritter-Whittle

to all my native sisters, 

i cannot gather enough words to explain my thankfulness for you.

i think about you often, everyday. i write about you seldom, because i am afraid i cannot find the words to capture your beauty, strength, consistence. 

english shows limits for bounds you do not know. 

the simple elegance you radiate moves beyond, outside of, around, in and out of, what i currently have the ability to express. 

but today, i want to let you know. 

despite my limits, i want to try.

to tell you 

your own struggles for wellness, personal, tribal, universal 

continuously inspire me to continue on 

sometimes i am fearful i will get left behind 

that i cannot measure up to all that you are 

and maybe that’s true, 

but i love you too much, 

to not continue to follow you 

you distract me

from class, from work, from schedule 

remind me of things that are more real

of spirit of land of feeling of life 

you never cease to surprise me 

by how much you teach me 

poems that i feel like i once knew 

you help me remember things i’ve never forgotten, 

but that still need woken 

time and time again

you continue to knock on my door

in times i want to stay in bed 

you invite me along,

let’s go

walk, swim, keep talking, keep moving 

there, we always end up finding joy 

laughter 

even in, even through, even with 

the trauma, the pain 

it all intertwines

in a way that we can hold 

you are women,

two-spirit, 

black, 

creative, 

queer,

poor,

(yet you are amoung the wealthiest i know)

curious,

white,

fearful, 

and wonderful. 

you are these and more and more and more. 

you have minds and emotions that work in ways the world tells you is wrong, ways which can also pull you through when others can find no path. you are my elders and my youngers and my mentees and my mentors. 

and i learn from all of you. and i am blessed from being able to listen to you. and honored to be able to share with you (i can’t believe you let me). 

i love you. am in and out and over and under love with you. 

thank you. 

i know you get tired. 

i am always so tired.

but you continue on.

and because of this, 

so will i.

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