Thocmentony or Shell Flower

Paralyzed with fear,
Thocmentony and her cousin
lay entombed
holding hands;
as mother earth
soaked up the tears
that seeped from
their tightly shut eyes,
they thought of white
flesh-eating monsters
and the terror of their mothers,
who had buried them in the
sandy soil with a sagebrush
planted over their faces
to shade them from the burning sun
and the lust of the white men.

Without even a cousin’s
hand to hold,
our children cower
in square little houses
and fourth-floor walkups,
isolated and alone,
planted in front
of video consoles
with only the people
on TV for friends–
forbidden to
answer the phone
or open the door,
waiting for
their mothers’ return.

Note: Thocmentony or Shell Flower, later known as Sarah Winnemucca, was a well-known Paiute educator, author, and activist (ca. 1844-1891). She and other children were buried in the sand to hide them from attacking white soldiers. Their mothers came back for them in the night.


About Judy Grigg Hansen
I write poetry and nonfiction, and I am passionate about the people, places, and wildflowers of Idaho and the Northwest.

2 Responses to Hidden

  1. Tamara says:

    Loved this. Love reading your poetry.

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