A word born before fire
a word before light and darkness

before madness and brimstone
a word cut clean from misery’s stone

a stone turned talisman charm gem
the stone still gleaming—untarnished

by history’s brutality to the Cherokee—
the last unvanquished word

stringing together all the dead
and the living into the sole

bone adorning the earth’s neck:
yunwiya—the unbroken

“we, the people.”

—for Ralph Salisbury

Cindy Williams Gutiérrez

About Cindy Williams Gutiérrez

Cindy Williams Gutierrez is a poet-dramatist who collaborates with musicians, thespians, and visual artists. Her collection, the small claim of bones, is forthcoming from Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe (Arizona State University). Poems and reviews appear in Borderlands, Calyx, Harvard’s Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, UNAM’s Periódico de poesía, Portland Review, and Rain Taxi. Her CD, “Emerald Heart,” features her Aztec-inpsired poems accompanied by pre-Hispanic music.
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