Bear’s Dream


Black Bear smells
the ripening of Sisters, taken
from Lenapehoking, returned,
later, by a creek.

Poking her nose through stalks,
she pushes forward,
flattening a Center with her formidable backside.
Every rainbow-colored kernel chewed.
Beans licked out of their pods.
Rolling back and forth from Center,
making paths, like wagon wheel
Spokes. The Sisters
are inside her. Will be
to regenerate
at will.

Drunk on the milk of Mother Corn,
she sleeps.


In her dream, she sees
a human girl running,
chasing after a Raven,
who clutches a small cape, made of feathers,
in her talons.

Bear moans, like a crosswind,
shifting Raven’s flight.
Cape slips
and drifts to the ground.

The human has it, once again,
in her hands, in her hands, it had been.
Many hunched over days.
Tapping feather quills with river rock.
Looping and twining.
Feathers prudently paired;
These quills share a directional curve;
This dark one draws out the iridescence of another.
Colors slinked like clouds
following the position of the sun.
Plant string soaked until it was ready,
and the plants soaked the girl
until she was done.

Watching Auntie do a row, before,
she tried her own.

But before this,
before she tied even one knot,
Raven knew-
She felt the human’s desire, like amber sap,
it stuck in her head. So
she dropped feathers,

one quiet day, and some string.
Before the girl even thought she could.
But in her palm,
she knew she would.
Make a version
of what she saw
a line of leaders, wearing,
When many families gathered,
lowest point on the river,
a confluence of waters, dialects, wealth.

Auntie watched her try, at first,
squeezing unsightly lumps,
before extending her hand of many lines.
Let’s make this for you.
And it was.

The completed cape hung, gleaming,
against marble walls, when
Raven took it.
Raven told herself,
this is for me.
This is for me.

After the chase, when cape
returned to her family’s seasonal camp,
the girl sees a flash, a flash of green-
but it fades-a small hand carries it away.

Like the flash, girl’s image
absorbs into darkness,
the metamorphic walls of Lenapehoking.
Walls of volcanic marble.
Walls of generations.
Walls that have never been built,
bought or sold.


Bear notices another child-
this one with a bag.
She picks up green cans from high crevices,
“Inwood Hill Park.”
Her family barbeques, plays loud music and laughs,
below. She wanders past them,
to the shore line. Stops
to watch others
skim the oily surface,
“Hudson River,”
plastic canoes.
There, she finds
more containers, displaced,
and one
red rose.

Leaves the rose,
picks up more trash.

Bear opens one eye.


-Rebecca Haff Lowry (2022)

Rebecca Haff Lowry is a citizen of the Delaware Tribe of Indians, headquartered in Bartlesville, OK. Rebecca is an educator, clinical social worker, poet and feather weaver. Her anthology of poetry, Lenape Journeys, was publicly performed on Little Island, in Manhattan, in 2021. Her feather cape creation, The Cape of a Matriarch, was displayed in the Lenapehoking exhibition, at Brooklyn Public Library, in 2022. Her poetry may be read within “Lenapehoking, an Anthology,” housed at Brooklyn Public Library. In partnership with Native authors and tribal nations, she develops curriculum on Indigenous history and experiences. Rebecca is currently developing a graphic novel based on experiences of Native foster youth, in partnership with her husband, Chag Lowry. Inquiries regarding her work may be directed to