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POEM: Blue Tattoo

08/01/2012 08:29PM ● Published by Denise Brown

By Ruth Nolan

based on the true story of Olive Oatman

we took care of her, the white girl the grandson of the last traditional chief of the Mojave Indians told the crow

in 2012, at the 13th celebration of the victory of Ward Valley-- no radioactive waste facility here

this valley is where our deceased follow the Milky Way to the sacred peak at Spirit Mountain, avi k’wame

the white girl chose her own pattern of tattoos we burned into her chin, the blue lines, the river, so

near, we are the people who walk along the water she swims among us now.

Ruth Nolan is a native of the Mojave Desert and a former California Desert District/Bureau of Land Management helicopter hotshot and engine crew firefighter. She is now professor of English and creative writing at College of the Desert, and a California desert literature scholar. She is also a widely published poet/writer/photographer focused on writing and lecturing about California desert cultural and conservation issues, and is editor of No Place for a Puritan: the literature of California's deserts, published by Heyday Books in 2009. She is a regular columnist contributing desert feature stories online for Heyday Books and KCET Artbound, Los Angeles, a judge and contributor for The Sun Runner’s Desert Writers Issue, and blogs about life in the desert at ruthnolan.blogspot. com. She lives in Palm Desert and can be reached to at runolan@aol.com.

Culture, In Print ruth nolan writers edition peom college of the desert
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