The look of things
How do I teach a class when my mouth
Is full of dreams I cannot share.
When a girl in class says “there’s a devil influence” in
Sherman Alexie’s Reservations Blues.
She won’t read it. Doesn’t want it in her head.
I look out the window and back at the nodding class.
They love the love, but can’t take the badmouthing
About religion on the rez.
What do I tell them to read to compare? Shakespeare’s Caliban
Morrison’s Beloved, Ginsberg’s Howl, to help them get it? To see
That once there were others with dreams in their mouths
But those dreams happened on top of what was already there.
And the landscaped turned into the novel Sherman Alexie
Wrote and came to our class in my feather hands.
How does history get told anyway from the loser’s perspective.
I would think a devil, and a gun, some frybread, and maybe background music
Would be involved. And on a reservation, a night creased by winter’s blade
Where babies freeze to death and are buried on top of another sister’s grave.
Where full-grown men cry into whiskey bottles for lost love. For being lost.
Those men whoop and holler at their women; at the moon. At god.
How do I tell my students, eyes new and waiting, I remember that.