Years ago our Navajo friend Hosteen Tsiniginni
Told us of how he confounded the enemy
Using a language unwritten,
Unknow beyond the deserts of his home—
Words familiar only to the wind
That twists around the branches of the pinons
On the plateaus, sweeps into the canyons,
And rushes to the sacred mountaintops,
Leaving nothing on the air
But whoosh and ssss
And soft gutteral word
Followed by short puffs of warm sound.
It was the one code that
Could not be broken.
It appears now that we are code talkers, too,
With ourselves as the enemy,
Using words to confuse and distract,
To mask the meaning of what we say
So that syllables sit on our tongues
Like polite dinner guests
Who are on the verge of vomiting
But tell the hostess again and again
How much they enjoyed
The veal parmesan.
It has taken us years to learn the words
But we have become the world’s
best code talkers,
our success matched only
by that of Hosteen Tsinniginni
and his kin.
We speak a language having nothing to do
With what we feel, becoming more and more
Adept at the one code
That cannot be broken.
by Carla Chlouber © Chlouber Estate