Before This, The Occaneechi – Maura High

Yīma ya–tī–pu–yuke–wa nēi, You have lived here.
Corey Roberts, A Grammar Sketch of Tutelo-Saponi.

Sunlight falls, as it always has
                        betwixt, tremulous, slant
through the oaks, through the hickories
                        story and understory
splatters over the rocks, the fallen leaves
                        deer rut and ripening
and falls too as it never did
                        in the buzz-cut, clear-cut
on the scarred hardtop, on cars
                        revved-up present, in this time
capped meters, water mains
                        power and light humming in the wires
on shingles and siding, fence posts
                        colonized by mold and beetles
concrete and gravel driveways
                        plantain and grass and creeper

the street quiet and orderly
                        the old trails running below ours
waiting for dusk and the deer
                        cross-creek and ridge-line
to step out warily and cross
                        not one but a web of roads
from one yard to another, and fall
                        corn patch, paw-paw, muscadine
to grazing, for the old hunters
                        the songs, the stamping feet   
who wait in the shadows
                        old words resurrected and invented  

Maura HighMaura High has published extensively, online and in print, and her chapbook came out from Jacar Press. From Wales originally, she came to the US as an adult, rerooting—a long story. She now lives, writes, and votes in North Carolina.