Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Toppenish: I

There is a row of bars on Main Street,
dedicated to the demise
of the Yakama tribe.
You go in one of those places
and come out empty,
America dead
in its tracks.
Vivian Benz would say "one way sleep"
with her Anglo beauty
reflected in the way she spoke Indian
without irony.
I took the claims at the window,
Juan said: She adjudicated at her desk
on the back wall of Kafka’s office.
She pulled a cousin off the street
and took him home.
Her husband, who was all Anglo, left.
She loved him dearly.
What people do comes straight
from the heart
or stays where it eats you up,
admittedly slowly.
Juan went in the Pastime and started out
without a drink. The barfly
near the door asked for a favor.
The guy two stools from her
came over and nuzzled her neck,
cozying up,
a husband drunk with greed.

(20 July 2011)

copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander

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