A photo of Carrie Terbasket's home in Blind Creek Ranch, Similkameen Valley. Photo by Carrie Terbasket.


the frayed, the twisted, the worn, we are
a piece of old twine holding us together
the frayed the twisted the worn, we move on
that yil is strong
no one ever gets the power of simple
but he did

the Similkameen they say are the strong
the frayed the twisted, the worn, we feel that
yil, many threads bound together to make whole
we feel that
the truth as a Similkameen man’s boots
round, round we go

all we had to do was be ready, open, and together
yesterday, tomorrow, now
but all you have to do he said
was love
simple as that
round, round we go

he really did want you to come with us
across the flat, down the meadows and up to the high country
where freedom looms large and his heartbreak became just a crack
warming our soles (souls?) and cooling his ache
we swear he was lighter up there
he really did want you to come with us

he found some of his missing pieces up in those mountains
he brought them home to you
way’ way’ way’ he would say
but then
he would lose them again
he really did want you to come with us

we were made for this life but damn it’s a tough one
he didn’t want that for you
he didn’t want you to be threadbare, like us, like him
we were his armour, we made him strong
through it all we never left him and he never left us
but neither did you

oh and those spurs! to just put on those spurs one more time!
just one more time to Indian cowboy up
that sound we would make that would tell you we were home
across that rezzed out and creaky floor
that sweet jangle like Frank Sinatra meets John Wayne
we couldn’t tell him that we were his spirit moccasins, but we think he knew

oh to ride with the boys again
across that sacred dirt you were always going on about
that dirt felt so good, it meant we had purpose
now, we have another dirt covering us, weightless but heavy as hell

remember the last time you spoke to him?
we were going to teach your boy how to ride
maybe that boy will take us out one day


This poem was the runner-up of the poetry category of our 12th annual Writing in the Margins contest, judged by Randy Lundy. We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Regina Public Interest Research Group (RPIRG) for this year’s contest. 

Carrie Terbasket is a Similkameen woman who secretly creates poetry and visual art through her connection with water.  She is a student at the University of British Columbia Okanagan and hopes to continue to write about the power of Indigenous Creativity and its most sacred carrier - water.

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