Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Toppenish: II

Wall drove his Caddy convertible across Snoqualmie Pass
after a few drinks in the Viceroy in downtown Seattle.
He stayed in a motel not far from the rodeo grounds
next to the highway going north and south,
where he’d come from and where he'd never go,
the crossroads west to the Columbia River
opposite a dogleg jog into town.
Juan hung around the Fourth of July tent, some humor
thought up by Yakamas who couldn’t help but wonder
what the Founding Fathers would have done
without slaves, or Indians to steal from..
Inside the door flap the gambling ensued,
men smoking kinnikinnick,
drinking wine in a brown paper sack.
Night and day, day and night, the elders never lost track.
Next day Wall bragged about the woman he picked up
in a roadside café to bust his nut..
Filling up with gas he used the restroom
where a hungover man was washing with running water
his bloody wound behind one ear.
At the red light in front of the Pastime, Juan told Wall
about the time this guy he knew took a driver’s test,
and the patrolman said, Take a right here and go back
to the office, and Juan's friend didn’t bother
stopping before turning and had to come back in a week.
On the way north they drove through Wapato,
where Irene Castenada lived, the first love
of Floyce Alexander when they both were growing up
south of here. Irene was a mother now,
unlike the girl who once loved and was loved, nothing more.

(20 July 2011)

copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander


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