Always Returning

I return to these rocks

These rocks are

My home and my vacation

My place of solace and solitude

This is the place I come to scream and shout

And to sit in silence.

I return to these rocks

These rocks have ears

These rocks have hearts

They listen to the secrets of my truth

They cry with me

They laugh with me

These rocks mourn my losses so that I may return weightless.

I return to these rocks

These rocks cut deep into the depths of my soul

They puncture the untouched mourning I was saving for tomorrow

These rocks soften my edges; making me human again

They outreach their arms so that I might lie in comfort with my grief.

I return to these rocks

These rocks are apart of me

And I of them

They are my mother and father

My grandma and grandpa

These rocks are ancestors I never met, but greet every morning.

I return to these rocks

They wait for me

They hear my footsteps as I approach

And I always do

Because I am always happy

Full of gratitude and good news

They hug me and tell me they are proud.

They wait for me

They see me running, running, running

Afraid I might not stop

But I always do

Because I am always grieving

Overflowing with hidden sorrow and horrible news

They hug me and tell me they will protect me.

I return to these rocks

And I wonder who had come before me

Who sat on this very ledge with their heart bleeding?

Who stood on this ledge smiling, smiling, smiling?

And when it is my time

Will I too walk into the valley never to return

Will I too become apart of these rocks

Will I be strong enough to withstand any adversity

Will I wait to hear the footsteps

Will I be the bearer of good and horrible news

Will I prepare to comfort

To laugh to cry

Will it be my turn to teach her how to stand tall

Will I too become these rocks

Will I become beautiful,

indestructible?

Yes, yes, yes

I return to these rocks

To stay.

Published by Shandiin Herrera

Diné, Duke University Alumna, Lead for America Hometown Fellow

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