Ka’imilani Leota Sellers is a teacher and writer.
Narrative from original post:
By K. Ka`imilani Leota Sellers
I once imagined you; sleek rifles, coon-skin hats, fringed leather,
imagined the indigenous Shawnee, Chickasaw,
Yuchi, and Cherokee who once dwelled here
in your shade. Since then, I have wandered
in your bird-songed woodlands, cooled thirsty skin
in your waters, sandstone-tilted cascades,
contemplated your limestone-ridged caves, breathing
into your heart-cavity, wonderment beating steadily.
Boone must have felt giddy in this place.
Now, equestrian dreams, arched necks stretched, nimble legs
propel rapidly, like the multitudes of your rivers converging,
rain-swept blood-veins across your blue grass meadows.
Swift horses are the pride of your people.
Your beauty is under-rated. People only believe what they hear.
Politics and social stigma may taint your name in the news,
but I know better. I know you. I’ve searched for you in the forest.
Children tap into your imagery of landscape.
write the essence of you, Kentucky, in poems, in songs,
tiny legs sprawled under a Catalpa tree, exploring your shape,
your texture of rough bark, concerned for your vanishing wildlife,
they speak, gazing into tomorrow from roots of innocence, they write,
child-hearts, child-bodies, like tendrils of hope, breaking ground,
they grow, latching themselves into the mystery of your soil.
The gauging of your mountain country, the raking of your heart,
have not marred the beauty of your spirit, nor the outcry
of your defenders, their unfaltering wells of love, speak,
from communities tending your land,
from communities of art and literature, like no other.
They bear your story, voices lilting in the rhythm of powerful poetry
of those generations who walked forests, across rivers,
of those generations who fled from bondage into your arms,
of those generations born in the shade of your shelter,
discovering that you were already mapped in their hearts,
as I, also, have found you in mine.
The Iroquois named you Ken-tah-ten,
Some say this means, Land of Tomorrow.
I know this to be true, as I have had the honor
of knowing your children, who will continue to write
a new journey into the landscape that is you.