At sunset drums began, chant of the Elders.

Ancient ceremony of the season.

Sky Rider, yellow and round as the eye of an owl,

Rose without a whisper over shifting branches;

Fire offered in its honor,

Dancers stilled the children,

Shadows changing shape more quickly than clouds.

Smoke went south in pulses;

Mothers pulled blankets around young shoulders;

Babies slept under puffs of vapor rising to places unknown.

Late, the drums went mute


As children were gathered,

Sleepy comments fading,

The quickest ear caught the sound riding from the North Star:

The Geese!

Extinguishing stars and voices one by one;

The moon blinked with their passing,

The fire faltered.


Betsy Reeder