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From “Deep Breaths”
by Leo Shelton

My roots are a safe place

External as well as internal

They run as long as the Cumberland River

And as deep as the values of Look Out

Within a family, a community, a culture


They take shape in the twang in my voice

In the jive in my walk

Or the greetings of elders

Or defense of my origins

Strangely, but uniquely from my own individual but collective perspective


Spreading out like limbs of a tree

Full of diversity

And connected spirits

But strangely, uniquely

Connected and separated all at once


It is who I am,

Who I’m supposed to be

How others see me

What I would like others to see

And the reality of what is …

And what is not!


These are my roots!

Tying me to what was,

Giving me the range to come into what is

Connecting me to what will be,

And grounding me in all possibilities, challenges,

Humbling me in life and self


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