Full Cold Moon

Christine Reding

During the winter skies, the Natives hunt birds

Mergansers, long tailed ducks and golden eyes

Listening carefully the quail and grouse they heard

Skimming the sparse grasses in order to disguise

Stealthily walking the naked and dried up grounds

Utilizing blow guns to capture their unsuspecting prey

Blending in with elements as they surround

Much needed meat to consume for that day

From the mountains they search for cones of the pine

Acorns from the dwarf oak sweet and satisfyingly pleasing

Digging up turnips cubing chunks for a stew so very fine

Eating shriveled vegetative plants not necessarily appeasing

Men wearing breechcloth and leggings with leather straps

Women wore buffalo skits and straight jackets trimmed with teeth

Teepees constructed of canvas, reed mats and sheets of blanched bark

Tinder and bundles of kindling providing evenly bursts of heat

The Iroquois combined ceremonial rituals of praying and healing

Native men seriously gambled losing animal skins and possibly a horse

The winter solstice began a season of legends and storytelling

Survival tactics were implemented in tribal force