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.

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