Linda McCarriston's "Indian Girls"
March 27, 2001
By Linda McCarriston
I. They come down all the ways waterways or over snow and frozen river, or come down roads in pickups, getting away, getting to town. Many clans, tribes, the Snail, the Raven, many complexions, the thick black hair. They learn they are not my sisters for I am white though I would tell them -- have -- that my road into this town, too, was long and bitter and began breathlessly, silently, under a chief still called wise one.
II. Out in the low and wind-shriven villages winter is warming its hands on the flat roofs. Women are making fire inside, and food, and mukluks for the babies. Women are making light, trying, trying to shine it over the whole house, even to the dark rooms of cold, where savage rights of the old body over the young, the great body over the small are preserved as the oldest charter.
III. They swagger out of the Avenue Bar at midnight with some tonight's Honey laughter that's a dare to make them scared of you or any buddy. They wear wallets on chains and cowboy boots worn to the cardboard heels and their hair wants washing. A few still young -- too ripe too early -- figure even this picking is better than being handed over without so much as beer. Who might any of them have become in even the least of the villages had Christ not come with his cross and bottle of vodka, his father's god-awful rights to the daughter, the sister, the son?