Bitterroot Moon Trader, 1805

"Early traders felt compelled to adopt the local Indian classification, which considered the prevailing compressed skull of the neighbouring tribes as pointed and the naturally shaped Salish skull by contrast as flat. The Salish or Flathead Indians of the mountain region of north-western Montana . . . have always maintained an exceptional reputation for bravery, honesty, and general high character and for their friendly disposition towards the whites." ~ James Mooney (Trans. C. H. Marousch)

They've packed their elkhorn spoons in bark,
stacked baskets for the trek,
and coiled the skin of larch in hoops
around the children's arms.

He pulls wood stakes from fir-laced ground,
but not because they've asked—
he isn't Flathead like they are,
the trapper, Jean Alaine.

He's lived beyond their sunflowers;
he's watched the women dig
their hundred roots, scrape pines for sap,
collect black moss for cakes—

but mostly he's watched her flow by,
dark orange as wild carrots,
hair bright as the lick of night-flames' glow,
her cheek: baked parsnips' silk.

Today they glide to Spirit Tree,
a snake of peoples bound
by tides of tender bitterroot
in flooded, gravel fields.

Just south of Darby ends the trail,
sour chokecherries for picking.
Out come the spoons, the parfleches,
the cedar girl, her shadow.

by Eve Anthony Hanninen

Photo by Keba Evans Copyright 2006

Eve Anthony Hanninen resides in the evergreen Pacific Northwest (currently in British Columbia), where the benefits of access to both the coast and several mountain ranges in the same region can be found rollicking within the themes of her art and writing. She is most interested in the effects of human experience, how environment impacts individuals, and in exploring these combined results in poetic form. Eve's work has appeared in The HyperTexts, Mannequin Envy, Southern Hum, Nisqually Delta Review, ForPoetry, and elsewhere. Recently, she was guest speaker on The Writer's Craft for the It's About Time Writer's Reading Service, in Seattle. She is also Editor of The Centrifugal Eye Poetry Journal.

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