©2016 by Deborah Kahan Kolb. Proudly created with Wix.com

The Woman in the Ring

November 22, 2016

The Dakota Access Pipeline protests dominate the news, and the images that accompany these news stories are striking and vivid. Hence the inspiration for this poem, published in Tuck Magazine:


The Woman in the


was clearly celebrating           


Life. Or the abdication of                   


To my eight year old                          


she was glorious, a                             


swathed in chieftain    


a glistening Santa Fe


nestled in the silver                             


of her throat’s dusky                          



When she laughed her bright teeth

moonbeamed from her brown mouth but

my mama said I must be dreaming.

When she swirled her frayed skirts

frolicked with her shining calves but

my mama said it was time to grow up.

When she beckoned with a crooked finger

cracked long ago by the rage of a large man

my mama said stop yo’ nonsense now


I was in thrall to the

cottony dread-

locks snaking down her bony back

wrapped in a gleaming

band of sun-

shine, to the glint of gold

peeping between

her tinseled toe-

nails, and I never noticed

the blackened fissures

of her cracked heel, or her

scabby pale palm,

or our matching meta-



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