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Did You Walk to Oklahoma?



You came You came from
You came from your homes Your family Your
rivers creeks came
with you in your blood in your songs
the hawks flew inside the wings of your voice
your voice walked like a deer across the
land your land was a voice walking deep
in your blood’s wings to the place awaiting
its own birth what is born is also made and what
is made is earned built like history
a house mound hall anything we walk into
a state perhaps a state of being a state still
mired in its own making making the dead the dead
a trail a walk of  bones a song of singing skin
that lives through its dying who has not lived with your death?
Who has not lived? You in the dust of your hundred
deaths your thousandsyour deaths are the constitution
of this country this country this state
of the union we say to your deaths that they are ours
they are hours days years only now lived into
a legacy we are learning now to live into your legacy learning
what has a state learned? What has a death driven us to?
Let us pray to your walking Let us walk backward to your prayers
If you are a song let us sing you Let the dead live
into the state of our making

About this poem

August 2022)

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Written on 2022

Submitted by Drone232 on August 06, 2022

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Dean Rader

Poet Dean Rader was raised in western Oklahoma. He earned a BA at Baylor University and an MA and a PhD in comparative literature at SUNY-Binghamton. Rader's book Before the Borderless: The Cy Twombly Cycle (Copper Canyon Press, 2023) is forthcoming. Rader’s debut collection Works & Days (2010) was chosen for a T.S. Eliot Poetry Prize by Claudia Keelan. Rader is also the author of the scholarly work Engaged Resistance: American Indian Art, Literature, and Film from Alcatraz to the NMAI (2011), which was nominated for a Beatrice Medicine Award for Scholarship in American Indian Studies, and coauthor, with Jonathan Silverman, of the textbook The World Is a Text: Writing, Reading and Thinking About Visual and Popular Culture (2008, 4th edition, 2011). With poet Janice Gould, Rader coedited the anthology Speak To Me Words: Essays on Contemporary American Indian Poetry (2003). His own work was featured in the anthology Best American Poetry 2012. more…

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    "Did You Walk to Oklahoma?" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 15 Aug. 2022. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/133029/did-you-walk-to-oklahoma%3F>.

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