For Unci Iktomi

By Talon Bazille Ducheneaux

For my grandma Helena Harrison-Spider, Unci Iktomi.

Most horror movies take place
On an “Indian burial ground”

I’d like to see the old cackling
Lakota and Dakota boys
Squinting w/cheek-to-cheek smiles

Their cracked skin
Covered with facial creeks of knowledge
And spiritual experience
When the flies filled
An old Amityville house

With a Scooby-Doo laugh-track,
I’d adore the visual
Of old girls
Laughing out that first letter
As the Poltergeist television
Statically sung
A vivid haunting
Terrifying the oppressor

Most horror movies take place
On an “Indian burial ground”

My Grandmother was one of the strongest
Humans I’d ever know

Her home opened to so many
Her table rotating in and out grandchildren
With yolk-covered toast
Smothering their loved smiles

My mother told me when she was younger,
Unci Iktomi would come back
Ready to have the blood
Wiped from her head and faced
As she giggled,
“I beat HIM up good.”

I myself recall being a young boy
Planted in front of Unci’s TV
As she put on
The Omen
The Exorcist
The Blair Witch Project
Pet Semetary

With just me and her in the house that night
I’d glance outside to midnight plains
Wondering if Unci knew
That I was nowhere near strong enough
To help any situation similar
To those in her movies
Being as it was just her and I in the house

In a room she left behind,
There hung her Christ crosses
Her rose-covered bed
Her rose-stitched pillows
That my relatives all cried into
Trying to barter for one last hug
One last kiss
One last motion of love
Physically energized
From Unci Iktomi’s grace

In those moments that night,
They said a swiping occurred
In the closets and walls
As if there was an angry energy
Haunting the room they filled in mourning

I’d like to think
Unci Iktomi was giving a playful giggle
That we’d feel after the time had healed

Because most horror movies take place
On an “Indian burial ground”

The same movies
She was infamous
For watching and laughing about
So intently.