My Father Spoke to Me of Indians
by Bill Meissner
"The Blackfeet knew every grain of sand
where this farm is," he told me. "I used to hunt
arrowheads where wind
scalped the earth of grass.
I never could find one,
but you might."
I began to smell an old story on his breath,
and my ears had already run
a mile away.
"And that burial mound back in our woods--
the one shaped like a man with buck horns on his head--
they say at midnight ghosts drifted like smoke
from that mound, set fire to
the whites' houses. Settlers
hung Indian relics
above their doors for good luck."
- Next day I lay on the spine of a hill
- and told the clouds what my dad had said.
- I smiled, a tree nodded.
The night he disappeared no one
knew where. Near morning when I found him
he was kneeling in the sand--
a smell of wood burning the air,
his fingertips digging like moles
trying to touch
just one notched stone.
Reprinted with author's permission; originally published in Learning to Breathe Underwater, Ohio Univ. Press.
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