Abbie Miller

My Granddaughter

I brag                                                                                                                                              a quarter Indian
Lakota and Cherokee

It’s on her other side                                                                                                                          I know in fact
She’s no more than a sixteenth                                                                                                      though she looks at least half

With dark brown hair                                                                                                                       black eyes of almonds
Golden skin

The most beautiful thing                                                                                                                   I’ve ever seen
Perfect teeth                                                                                                                                      fingers and toes
Of prehistoric determination

She climbs                                                                                                                                    like a monkey
Stalks and attacks                                                                                                                          like a hunter warrior

Calls herself a tom boy                                                                                                                     yet comes home
With sticks and stones                                                                                                                      to make a fire

She can, by herself                                                                                                                         at five
Put on all my jewels

She picks the beaded pieces first

The neck shawl                                                                                                                               black and red
Green and white

For a moment she holds it                                                                                                                 right under her eyes
It covers her nose                                                                                                                             mouth and chin

She says, “can I keep it like this?”                                                                                                   be the most exotic queen of Sheba,
Cleopatra or perhaps                                                                                                                  Scheherazade

We think                                                                                                                                             as she lays the abalone necklace
On top of her head

Both wrists in bracelets                                                                                                                    one from Aunt Shirlee                                                                                                                 one from Auntie Pat

She repeats the names                                                                                                                  as I tell her
One after another

Where all the pieces came from


“My Granddaughter” is reprinted from Born & Raised to Be (2007).


Abbie Miller was born in Okanogan County in 1957, grew up and lives in the Methow Valley, where she raised her family as a single mother. Her ancestors were some of the original pioneers of North Central Washington. Her grandchildren are the seventh generation to live in Okanogan County; the fifth to be on her place in Carlton. She lives in what was once her grandfather’s barn, and writes in the old coop, on the farm, where she and her husband keep bees. Abbie considers herself a folk poet, has performed her poems many times and has been a regular contributor to the Methow Valley News. Her first collection is Born & Raised to Be (2007).

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