As Us

A Space for Writers of the World

Ann-erika White Bird – poetry

Hidden Among Us

Poverty’s fist
drums a hunger song inside
my stomach because the step
between hungry and full
is only a hiccup away.

Right now the stars in the night sky
look like breadcrumbs luring me home.
I’ve stopped talking about poems
and walk among the mist of prayers
My ancestors left. The face
in the evening clouds reminds me of home.
Treaties circulate in the wind
and stick to the ribs of trees. I feast on
anger to dim the pain in my gut.

Our land’s return marks a pattern
inside my hand and when I open my fist
a gun appears next to a pen because
Courage is not just a word
written to fade in the sun.

Indigenous faces peer up to a square
of sky, the teepee given way to concrete
and barbed wire, brown hands crossing
days and years off the calendar.

My brother told me
Crazy Horse was his cellmate
until the extradited him to Wyoming.
His parting words:

Offer up your prayers
Put the blood on your face
Fight for the land that knows our name
Put the blood on your face
Unsheathe your weapon
And remember.

Taste the wind, he said. The change is coming.
He left in shackles, singing as he went.

Ann-erika WhiteBird - headshotAnn-erika White Bird is an enrolled member of Sicangu Lakota Nation (Rosebud Sioux Tribe). She graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a Bachelor’s degree in English, Creative Writing. Ann-erika also is a founder and editor of, an independent news website that covers local reservation news. She is an artist with bead work in Denver Art Museum’s permanent collection. Her beaded cradleboard recently returned from a traveling exhibition throughout museums in South Dakota.   In Ann-erika’s spare time she runs and bikes. She lives with her husband, their two children and one rez dog on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota.

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