Kutawikucuu Riisaaru (Pawnee for “Hawk Chief”)

** This is a product of my grad poetry class – writing about my father is always a bit complicated, but I suppose that is why he keeps coming up. The title is written in Pawnee – our language.

I was thinking of you today,

watching the sky

and admiring the slate blue clouds.

I saw a broad-winged shadow

and thought of your name.

Not the one on your tombstone –

the one that was branded on your soul,

the name that came from your blood.

You told me once – it meant Hawk Chief.

Bird of prey. Protector. Hunter.

You did both, I think.

But isn’t that what hawks do?

And now, in the slate blue clouds –

I think I see you.

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