He grinds some roots with a wooden pestle,
black and shiny on its business end.
His apprentice sits drumming —
soft and offbeat.
You listen deeply,
but can’t wear that wild rhythm
“like a bear skin,”
whatever that means.
The medicine will be bitter, but no matter.
It’s not for you.
Your cure will be sought on a tripless trip.
When the shaman re-inhabits
his sweat-soaked body,
he says only,
“Beware the Jackdaw!”
You say, “What’s that mean?”
He says, “That’s for you to know,
and for me… not to know.”
You say, “OK, what’s a jackdaw?”
With an intense wild-eyed stare,
You say, “Seriously?”
Then he shrugs and he nods off.