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reviewing the maternal
Poems by Kamella Bird-Romero

are they generational?

are they cultural?

nature vs. nurture?

is it my own?


do any of the above

make noise to children with fresh oyeh, ears dear


                                             pho, pho phendi, black hair

                                             these are your anto

                     prayer shoes, they are formal, unmemorized


but in review

baby clings and presses his palm to mine like I have been his mother, forever

I am gravity, or earth which came first?

milking moon, dusting earth

I am Mead Moon, Hare Moon, must be a moon

Earth does not phase this way


do any of the above

make noise to me

                                              po, water, moon, elk

                                              my name

                                              Cloud-headdress wearer, no sketches of her/him

                    that makes noise to everyone

                    the brass bells bringing them forth

                    summer woman, barefoot in snow

                    mother, belonging to my father

it all belongs to me.

Little & Large Hands
mountain garb

she could pluck mountain passes between forefinger and thumb

strum them

toss tree skirts up, nose close to pine cones, sweeping up the Rocky range snowcaps

she was cleaning house

dusting off the mountains and the mother that slept through fifteen winters

Wake Up, Up, Up

scarves warmly keep necks from snapping

sloppily sliding down the side of a giant


intoxication was poured into her coffee, earmuffs, memory

she has a bruised tail bone from running

stumbling through the windchill flurry, out of the canyon

blurry, spinning, flipping out from under her mother’s frozen shoe

her forefinger and thumb could strum a flask instead of a mountain pass

but that is hibernation

now is time to Wake, Wake, Wake

in the elevation in the melting snow just make it muddy

we are fresh out of herbal remedies, the compass is broken

dropping down the side of winter

Snow Mountain

Kamella Bird-Romero was born in Northern New Mexico in 1991. She resides on her Tewa ancestral lands in Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo with her three children. In 2011 she began attending the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico and has studied fiction, non-fiction and poetry. The birth of each child sparked distinct writing styles and influenced her themes of maternity, femininity, generational power and womanhood. She writes for her Tewa people and believes herself a vessel for the living stories within. She will receive her BFA in Creative Writing from IAIA in the Spring of 2022.

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