27 September 2007

Walking with the Wounded

All the time I walked next to Sahtanus
past the library
through the turnstile
and down the long walkway
I tried to keep pace
with his shaking shoulders
but he outpaced me.

His grief ran ahead of us
a raging flood
stretching from Shelton
to the dark highway in Toppenish
where his new marriage
is shattered
done in by anger
and alcohol.

The ghosts on the reservation
wait for him
call from the dust
promise to enfold him.

They are patient in the night vigil
weaving stories
their voices rising and falling with
long years of disappointment.

He will join them at dawn
to surrender his wife to her grave.

Now we walk.
He is wrapped in sorrow
and I
I walk nearby
a silent witness
to the grief
and the ghosts.