Monday, October 10, 2016

Wooden Duck

Just to think, I may be the first.
I walk through the small iron door,
    small like an Anasazi opening.
There on the stool
    a bearded English man pours sour ale.

The stained glass windows speak a story:
    a running rabbit, a human caterpillar,
    a disappearing cat, and a queen of hearts.
My emotions ebb like those of Alice's, out of place.

Outside the window
    a green hill supporting Windsor castle.
It stands like an adobe village atop a mesa.
The ground is black soil,
No signs of the red reservation dirt.

A small black bird perches on the wooden sill.
Is it a corn-stealing reservation chicken?
No. It's a Scottish raven, and Indian crow mirage.

No frybread with mutton stew.
I order Yorkshire pudding,
A meat pie.

Around the pub
    spreads the spired city of learning: Oxford.
Like tipis of the annual Crow Fair,
    these colleges choke the town:

Pembroke, Old Crow; St. Peters, Black Eagle; Christ Church,
Red Wolf: Magdalen, Old Coyote . . . . 

Here in the pub
    Queen Elizabeth rules by her crown.
Across the great diving lakes,
Within the sacred mountains,
Grandmother Little Owl weaves her loom.

In this room,
I am the red Columbus.
There are no Indian brothers.

I hear the echo of an eagle,
The sun dance drums,
Whistling Canyons.
But the wailing spirits of Stonehenge
    silence their chants.

I truly am the first Navajo in the Wooden Duck.

Hershman John, I Swallow Turquoise for Courage (2007) 

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