Holly Springs

by LINDA HOGAN

Holly Springs, Mississippi

One night I walked through the deep cool forest. The leaves were dry. A mouse ran over them and I thought how fortunate this time for the mouse I am not an owl I was near the home slept in the home with crystal lights near a fireplace the home built on the place of my ancestors, an old shack where slaves in the field were paid or not paid if they had bought anything and this was the place where my first ones were sent from the world they had loved and known so many centuries they had become it, then sent into the hungry place, and this is where they camped the night before they left their homes. Out behind the trees a great light was burning suddenly and I saw the fires the men had built before the leaving they didn’t want. They must have been grieving as the men went about deciding who would leave our rich lands first, where to place the children with their baskets of soft kittens in the wagons, who would help the infirm, the elders, as we began that journey to death and new life if you could call it that and when I heard the sound of a mouse running across dry leaves and looked down the light disappeared, all was gone. I am not one for many visions. It is just that they happen in dark forests and always remain in the shadows of early ancestors I never knew but it was real, the old world leaking through and not what I could ever have known.

LINDA HOGAN is former Writer in Residence for The Chickasaw Nation and Professor Emerita from University of Colorado. Her latest poetry collection is Dark. Sweet.: New & Selected Poems (Coffee House Press, 2014). Her numerous books include the novel Mean Spirit, a winner of the Oklahoma Book Award and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She is the recipient of NEA and Guggenheim fellowships and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas.