2016 01 07
Before her step-father sneaks in her room
after midnight and crawls into her bed,
Kathy packs clothes, books, and money she stole,
then slips out the window and runs away.
Walking all night in maze of city streets,
past strip clubs, bowling alleys, and dark bars,
Kathy trudges along highway with cars,
over river bridge into starless gloom.
Lying down behind bushes beside old church,
Kathy stares at clouds that shroud shining moon,
and cries as she thinks about her sick mother,
then drifts on river boat of restless dream.
Waking as red dawn gleams over far hills,
Kathy stands alone in broad empty field
where large bees swarm red flowers and gold corn,
and birds flutter in limbs of maple trees.
Wandering confused in meadow of red flowers,
in vain search for houses, highway, and church,
Kathy skips and sings on lush river shore,
breathing fresh air and basking in warm sun.
Pausing by maple tree rustling in wind,
Kathy gasps surprised to see a young woman
with long black hair, who wears deer-leather gown
and band of bird feathers around her head.
"My name is Kathy Albertson from Boston,
and I ran away from home to escape
my step-father, but lost America
as I wander in perfect paradise."
Young woman gives her bowl of pumpkin soup
and corn bread that tingle sweet on her tongue,
so she eats delicious meal with delight,
while sitting on stone to watch beavers play.
"My name is Onatah from Shenandoah,
and I welcome you to land of Onathah,
fertile valley where my people have lived
since Manitou formed it with crafting hands."
Tall angry man clutching rifle appears
on rugged hill where he erects wood cross,
and Kathy pales in terror at his face,
gasping, "How did Bob, my step-father, find me?"
"I claim this fertile land for Jesus Christ,
so accept him as God, king of this world,
for he came to save us all from our sins,
or I will kill you and hurl you to hell."
Just as Bob raises gun to shoot and kill,
Onatah transforms into spotted deer,
then darts over meadow through whispering trees,
so he chases her onto desert plains.
Kathy runs after her step-father Bob
to stop him from killing graceful Onatah,
who leaps away swift in swirling gray mist,
as Bob runs after, following her shadow.
Kathy cries out, "Bob, put away your gun.
Why are you always hunting animals?
I think you carry that gun in your hands
because you are weak, and afraid of death."
Voice of Bob echoes loud through swirling mist,
"Jesus is king over this entire world,
and he told me that you should be my bride
and bear my children to live in this land."
Kathy shouts while groping through blinding mist,
"This ancient land belongs to Onatah
and her people who care for fertile valleys,
but our people came and stole it from them."
Bob growls, "This fertile land of fruit is mine,
because God gave it to me with divine hand.
That deer woman is a cruel evil witch
and now that I see her face, I will shoot."
Screaming at blast of his gun, Kathy runs,
heart beating fast, through gray fog where she finds
spotted deer standing under old pine tree,
then Grand Canyon appears when gray mist parts.
Enormous canyon shining in sunlight
stretches deep and wide under purple skies,
and deer transforms back into Onatah
so they hold hands and gaze with wordless awe.
Onatah points down into canyon gloom,
and Kathy sees where her step-father fell,
tumbling down into dark pit of despair,
shrieking in fear as coyotes attack.
Walking together in meadow of flowers,
Onatah and Kathy hold hands and sing,
then sit together by clear sparkling stream
where children play among whispering maples.
"I escaped from hell of America,
searching for paradise outside steel city,
and now back home to Onathah I come,
secure in paradise without stone walls."
While Wohali Laughing Eagle beats drums,
and Onatah plays sweet enchanting tunes
on bird-bone flute, Kathy dances and hums
as she gazes at hills where flowers bloom.
Red lights of an ambulance flash in rain
as police find Kathy, lost runaway,
raped and strangled in a dark alleyway,
and her blue eyes stare at infinite sky.