When I go to the reservation in my mind
I become a man in a singlewide.
There are the inevitable children,
running, delighted with the life of the innocent.
The women are like bones, unbreakable bones,
the kinds of bones a heart would have.
The men who stick around work and drink.
Their days are filled with work on the fly,
a few hours of heavy lifting for a day’s pay.
Next come the beer runs, rolling papers.
The rush of joyful intoxication,
it feels like the delight of the innocent.
Children run and leap like young stags.
the women watch,
waiting for the wind to shift,
the laughter to take on the edge of wounded pride.
Today there is enough to smoke.
There is enough to soften the edges.
In the shank of the afternoon the men and children doze.
Women cut chickens into fryers, peel potatoes, shuck corn,
ready the dough for frybread.
The front yard becomes a makeshift dining room.
Neighbors wander in and out, dishes multiply,
someone repeats the old joke about fishes and loaves.
Dusk, quiet, laughter, a fire, seats are taken in a circle.
Guitars, drums and soft voices quiet our demons and kids.
By ones, pairs and families people begin to drift away.
I help my daughters clean the kitchen.
The boys take turns rubbing their Momma’s feet.