Looking Back on the Muckleshoot Reservation from Galisteo Street, Santa Fe
The bow of a Muckleshoot canoe, blessed
with eagle feather and sprig of yellow cedar,
is launched into a bay. A girl watches
her mother fry venison slabs in a skillet—
drops of blood sizzle, evaporate. Because
a neighbor feeds them, they eat wordlessly;
the silence breaks when she occasionally
gags, reaches into her throat, pulls out hair.
Gone is the father, riled, arguing with his boss,
who drove to the shooting range after work;
gone the accountant who embezzled funds,
displayed a pickup, and proclaimed a winning
flush at the casino. You donate chicken soup
and clothes but never learn if they arrive
at the south end of the city. Your small
acts are sandpiper tracks in wet sand.
Newspapers, plastic containers, beer bottles
fill the bins along this sloping one-way street.
Arthur Sze is the author of eight books of poetry, including The Ginkgo
Light, Quipu, and The Redshifting Web. His poems have been translated into a
dozen languages, including Chinese, Dutch, and Spanish. A professor emeritus
at the Institute of American Indian Arts, he lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
He will be reading his poetry on April 4, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. At The Hefter
Center (3271 N. Lake Drive).