Mary Sands Woodbury

Anishinabe tradition is for women to fetch the water.

And there she goes.
Her copper pail filled with the sun
Swaying for thousands of miles
She smiles, offers tobacco and chants
To the waters of each great lake
Her walk slow and deliberate.

From Katarokwi to the St. Lawrence
Where beluga whales die of cancer
To the once great Erie
And male frogs who grow ovum
To the Love Canal --
A hooker killed that.

Invasive species giggle in the soup
And estrogen floats with shit.
PCBs banned decades ago
haunt bottom layers of sediment.
The water levels down four feet
Coastal wetlands disappear.

Flags rise off her shoulders
She smiles, prays, nods
People laugh at her, think
She’s crazy!
I think
She’s the sane one.