Ft. Peck by Alex Sakarissen

Photo credit: Alex Sakariassen

Sleeping under my skin
are traces of shadows left behind.
My steps echo of the past,
and ring of moving forward.
My jaw is set against my own questions.
I try not to pay attention to what I tell myself
most of the time.
On the plains, where the sky marries the land in a sunset ceremony,
the souls of my ancestors bled and died.
The ghosts of real people,
whose descendants sleep in the beds of backhanded poverty and abuse,
whisper from the grasses…
as the wind slowly sweeps across the Ft. Peck prairie.
Scars of the past manifest in the shadows that follow me,
My heart is in the sky,
in the dirt,
in the green of the earth, 
and I am torn.
I am a child of warriors dead and gone,
of generations of glorious women silenced.
My soul roars in tired revolutions, 
quieted by necessity.
I have not disappeared.


This is my submission to dVerse Poets Pub Meeting The Bar.  I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to have my poetry read and read other’s work.  I encourage anyone with an interest to check out their site.


11 thoughts on “Reservation

  1. I really love this piece. I can read and re-read it 🙂 very good.

  2. Oh my. There is a part of me that wonders if I was a Native American in a previous lifetime because so much of my own spirit resonates when I study about them. My husband is from ND and the plains just stun me with their austere beauty. The whole issue of alcoholism saddens me. Thank you for this reflection.

  3. This piece invites some soul-searching, hints at a topic so oft ignored in our recent past and present. Thanks for sharing this sentiment with us. Also, it strikes me so– the name–Ft. Peck– how even the ancestral name is vanquished along with the people, the culture, the dignity. Thanks again. ~ peace, Jason

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Jason. I do agree that many Native issues are brushed under the rug. The mere existence of Natives in the future was questionable for a good part of America’s history. I’d say in the grand scope of development, with consideration of the notion that Reservations were not entirely designed with the progress of the people in mind, combined with the very limited resources and social problems that were (and sometimes still are) imposed upon people and used as a form of oppression, the people who live in Ft. Peck and who love and laugh and exist ARE continuing to grow our culture and heritage. The Reservation has and will have troubled times, but to me, it still holds promise that the culture can continue, that there are spirits that simply will not be broken, and that perseverance can span generations and generations.

  4. claudia says:

    My heart is in the sky,
    in the dirt,
    in the green of the earth,
    and I am torn…oh heck…this is a moving piece…def. can feel your heart in this..

  5. brian miller says:

    My jaw is set against my own questions.
    I try not to pay attention to what I tell myself
    most of the time…smiles…that says much right there…

    but when you speak of being of the sky and the dirt…and the heritage that has gone…i really feel your heart in it…and that last bit acknowledging that despite so much you have not disappeared…like that much…

  6. Pamela says:

    You speak well of the plight of the native American. This type of injustice continues here in Mexico with the indigenous, not that I know of here, but Oaxaca and Chiapas are notorious for their exploitation. Hard hitting piece.


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