not the same old song and dance by Lee Kisling

A Blackfoot legend tells us that the buffalo
taught a maiden how to sing and dance — to
restore life, year after year, to the buffalo who
were killed. And so the people believed that
the animals were willing to be killed, that there was
a mystical covenant between the animal world
and the humans, that it was sacred and required
ceremony—singing and dancing. In the songs,
the people talked to the animals. In the stories,
the people married the animals. At some point,
getting the songs and dances exactly right
was the only way to keep the magic going.

I have spoken of this to the cereal and canned goods
at the grocery. I’ve told it to the bread in their
plastic bags. I have whispered to the apples
and to the cheese. I have prayed in front of the deli
counter. I have invented a small dance which, until recently,
no one could see — heel, toe, slide left, spin around,
change foot and repeat. I softly sing: natayo, kiaayo,
sipistoo, ponokaomitaa. Close eyes, repeat,
move to the next aisle. I awaken the food
and the fathers and mothers of the food. I caress
the jars, shake the pasta, rub the melons,
praise the butter, and now

they have asked me to leave.

Lee Kisling
lee kisling1Lee Kisling is a recent graduate of Hamline University in St Paul, Minnesota. In December 2013, his poetry chapbook The Lemon Bars of Parnassus was published by Parallel Press in Madison, Wisconsin.