- Oklahoma Naming
I cried a while when I moved hereand saw trees so short and few,prairie altogether flat,and the earth near scarlet like my Georgia earth but that was where kinship ended.And then, the land started hurtingme like an amputated part of my body.I had the dreams againwhere my dead father appearedwith unusual cruelties.I cannot believe anythingis what I learned from visions,and then, when I became gratefulfor deception, a new insistence:some long-gone Indian grandmotherwho came to me and I spokeher words and knew they were true.And then, when she left me, I laughedat my foolishness. I have relativesout here—though I can't prove it—cousins many times removedwith last names that tell something useful.How many enemies our ancestors have killed.What kind of song a wounded animal makes. [End Page 111] Sometimes I wonder what wouldbe my name if I had to choose again.My father's daughter might be called,Woman Who Still Loves And Cannot Say Why.My grandmother's child,Woman Who Pretends Her Visions Are Lies.
Honorée Fanonne Jeffers’s latest book is Outlandish Blues (Wesleyan, 2003). Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Callaloo, Kenyon Review, and Prairie Schooner. A native Southerner, she now lives on the prairie, where she is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Oklahoma.