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sacred roots

my roots are gnarled and sprawling;

the numerous generations

of familiar, nameless people,

flashes of faces reminiscent of my own.

ghosts of my flesh and my bone.

while their grasp is both firm and steady,

i often fear that they will falter.


my roots – these earthen beings in their own right,

knotted and twisting through time and space.

eternal reminders of my groundedness,

the inherited resilience coursing through my veins.


my roots, present within my every miniscule movement,

every uttered sound; every laugh, every tear.

and they remind me of that unspeakable distance;

where the land speaks the very tongue familiar to my spirit,

where the buzzard’s wings carved out the valleys,

all those millennia ago.

for me, home has always been a far-off place.


my roots grow in tandem with my own blooming.

my roots reaching towards me,

– reaching, reaching, reaching –

reminding me of a home

almost one thousand miles away.

and here it is: a whisper – a promise of another home.


i picture the celestial radiance of the sun,

surrounded by cerulean skies,

shining effortlessly through the emerald canopies,

the potent rays of heaven

dappled lovingly across our forms.


and the endless laughter escaping from the net of my ribcage;

a home is never a home without the clever wit

and intimate giggles with a good friend.

my ribcage aches with the effort of my raucous laughter.


our bodies embraced by the soft earth and all her beings;

lying upon a blanket, laughing through mortal ecstasy.

the land knows us, even when home is at a distance.


the tender roots of the timeless giants;

whose magnificence is earned through history;

an extension of my roots from the mountains,

from where my ancestors bled and died and lived;

their spirits but an echo of an immortality

we will never fully comprehend.

i am caressed by the language of the river,

a distinctly motherly lullaby; soothing my soul to its core.

a hymn of an eternal connection between all of creation.


i relive this moment; surrounded by the freshness of life;

a reminder of an unforgotten home,

the newness of my connection to this place,

an easy introduction to this new home.


the roots here are my roots, too.

is home still so far?

about the author

Mikayla Thompson

Mikayla Thompson is a reconnecting descendent of the Cherokee Nation, studying Linguistics and Indigenous Studies at Michigan State University. Mikayla is very passionate about Indigenous language revitalization, as many Indigenous communities face the threat of their ancestral languages disappearing. She views culture, language, and land as deeply interconnected aspects of Indigenous identity, therefore they must be protected so that they may be passed on to future generations. After graduating from MSU, Mikayla hopes to work in Indigenous communities to help preserve their ancestral languages. She also hopes to one day be fluent in Cherokee, so she may teach the language to Cherokee youth.