I am so very thankful for all my wonderful followers, customers, readers, colleagues, and friends in the world of vintage. On this day after Thanksgiving, my deepest appreciation to each and every one.


This year, my husband and I are celebrating Native American Heritage Day today, in appreciation to the most courageous people in the country right now, the Standing Rock Reservation protestors.

A Young Ute Woman, 1880-1900


America, I Sing Back

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, 1958
for Phil Young, my father, Robert Hedge Coke, Whitman, and Hughes

America, I sing back. Sing back what sung you in.

Sing back the moment you cherished breath.

Sing you home into yourself and back to reason.

Oh, before America began to sing, I sung her to sleep,

held her cradleboard, wept her into day.

My song gave her creation, prepared her delivery,

held her severed cord beautifully beaded.

My song helped her stand, held her hand for first steps,

nourished her very being, fed her, placed her three sisters strong.

My song comforted her as she battled my reason

broke my long held footing sure, as any child might do.

Lo, as she pushed herself away, forced me to remove myself,

as I cried this country, my song grew roses in each tear’s fall.

My blood veined rivers, painted pipestone quarries

circled canyons, while she made herself maiden fine.

Oh, but here I am, here I am, here, I remain high on each and
     every peak,

carefully rumbling her great underbelly, prepared to pour forth
     singing—

and sing again I will, as I have always done.

Never silenced unless in the company of strangers, singing

the stoic face, polite repose, polite, while dancing deep inside,
     polite

Mother of her world. Sister of myself.


When my song sings aloud again. When I call her back to
cradle.

Call her to peer into waters, to behold herself in dark and light,

day and night, call her to sing along, call her to mature, to
     envision—

Then, she will make herself over. My song will make it so

When she grows far past her self-considered purpose,

I will sing her back, sing her back. I will sing. Oh, I will—I do.

America, I sing back. Sing back what sung you in.


Copyright © 2014 by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke. Originally published in Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.





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