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Simon Ortiz
Acoma Pueblo
b. 1941

"For Nanao"


That time you came back
and told us
about meeting a Navajo woman
on the canyon's rim
you were happy and smiling.

You said, "We were talking,
smiling and gesturing to each."

Yes, Nanao,
you must have been truly.

The two languages,
Navajo and Japanese,
origins from the monumental age
of glacial Asia,
it is all true.*

You must have been
mother and son then,
or sister and brother,
or lover and lover.

I can see you smiling,
remembering that time
in millennia. I can see
the lights in your eyes.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

* Ed. note: There is a remarkable phonetic relation between
the Japanese language and some native American languages.
When Sequoya developed his writing system for the Cherokee
language, he invented a "syllabary" a system of symbols
representing syllables, rather than single sounds as in an
alphabet which is identical in principle to the Japanese
hiragana used to this day. Needless to say, Sequoya had no
knowledge of the Japanese language or its writing system.

© Simon Ortiz
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