Strawberry Festival Union – by Delaney Olmo

Strawberry Festival Union

I scatter handfuls of dirt on the ama
between my finger the inhyo falls,
my soon to be father in law plucks
red flicker quills for his son’s pelt
remembering love emerges from
acorn seed baskets and thilel,
I want to tell him I feel I’m not
good enough for his son—

but before the words even leave
my lips, he smiles stroking
the moon scar on my cheek,
in his brown eyes, I see our
fire pit and Pomo songs in
the maca’ honoring itself with
words while the women dance
before us, blowing sage smoke

over my body and adorning me
with quail feathers to honor my clan.
sometimes I see my ancestors
bodies joining us in our ceremony,
I dream of them holding together
strawberries we picked for harvest,
bright sweet Qhamsudu’s they
can taste as we put them into

the fire pit, my husband tells me
no strawberries before our ceremony
we hold them together in an acorn
seed basket, his hand over mine
the sticky sweetness submerging
us both as we throw them into the flames.

Delaney R. Whitebird Olmo (Kashia Pomo, Yurok) is a writer living in Fresno, CA. She attends the MFA Program at Fresno State. She was the recipient of the Mireyda Barraza Prize. She was also an honorable mention for the Ernesto Trejo Poetry Prize. Her work can be found in Visual Verse, Yellow Medicine Review, and others.

Art: "Strawberries" by Sandy Coomer - 6 X 6, acrylic pour on claybord
Statement: I see the strawberry plants stretching across the shallow fields, the bright, plump fruit in handfuls.