Feather Bag, Stick Bag

This five strands bear hair in a split match,
this about seeing two at love kindle my heart.
How much you pay to hear the rest?
This willow stick red thread tied
be that song before Eve wore shame,
before God pluck the garden key out Adam’s mouth.
How much you pay to hear it all?
That ship, mother, go down singing.
You hold feather of the bird that saw,
hold feather of the bird that told me
how they all sang when water closed.
You pay me now, I sing it.
Feather bag, stick bag, this little bone
worry me honest about my people
waiting for me pull the skein of that road
all the way out my fist and be done.
They wait, I sing, you pay, that road
ravel me out.
Dust and water, winter road. Feather
bag, stick bag, bone bag, all I had
when dust and water been my food.
Not so always. This blue scrap
be ribbon silk, and wrapped inside
she hides, she laughs my song,
Your money jangle out why.
Feather bag, stick bag—see this
penny my anvil hammer pounded flat?
This the song I sing about you
if you don‘t buy my songs.
Hah! Feather bag, stick bag, bone bag.
—Kim R. Stafford