Folk practices are “primitive”
until we dissect and understand:
bone ash rubbed into iron to imbue weapons with the beasts’ spirit
actually created rudimentary steel,
traditional burning and spilled blood
actually enriched soils and protected landscapes from flash fire,
the cycling moon and menstrual bleed
actually provided a schedule to track tidal shifts.
Old men in stuffy conference rooms speak clinically
cradle history in white gloved hands–
they prefer the spirit removed and the material studied:
chaff and wheat.
Theses and dissertations propose questions to answers
previously chalked up to gods and spirits
and sung in stories across generations
to Understand the world around us.
so they could sow and hope to reap
They shake their heads and chuckle softly
at the scared, sacred ancestors in their papers
who cut their hands and slaughtered beasts
and painted with blood to protect their homes,
who buried bones and boots and bottles and bulbs
to please or ward off different gods,
who anxiously watched the skies while the moon swole and shrank
so they could sow and hope to reap,
who Knew enough to carry themselves
far enough into time
to look back
and see themselves as silly
through the eyes of their descendents.
We are echoes of their tradition
of folk-knowing and -unknowing
grown up and renamed fact and theory:
we still stand in awe and terror of the Unknown
whose face we have always painted to look familiar enough
to keep stepping toward.
EmJo Chaney (she/they) is some white bitch - middle age middle class middle child from the middle west - she has been writing poetry for an amount of time - she's on various social mediums but please leave her be - support her by trusting your instincts and doing the dishes.