I’m working on an elaborate review of a play I recently saw, and a saga concerning a certain celebrity I may or may not have seen. In the meantime, I thought I’d post a poem I first read during my sophomore year of college. My professor for American Literature from the 19th Century Forward (actual course title) is of American Indian heritage, and so she introduced us to several American Indian authors. I remembered Sherman Alexie, whose young adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian I had read and loved in high school. Also, randomly, because my buddy Brandon came through for me, I have Sherman Alexie’s autograph–scribbled on a blank piece of notebook paper–tucked away somewhere. Anyway, here’s my favorite Alexie poem, mostly because of those last two lines.
At Navajo Monument Valley Tribal School
By Sherman Alexie
the football field rises
to meet the mesa. Indian boys
gallop across the grass, against
the beginnings of their body.
On those Saturday afternoons,
unbroken horses gather to watch
their sons growing larger
in the small parts of the world.
Everyone is the quarterback.
There is no thin man in a big hat
writing down all the names
in two columns: winners and losers.
This is the eternal football game,
Indians versus Indians. All the Skins
in the wooden bleachers fancydancing,
stomping red dust straight down
into nothing. Before the game is over,
the eighth-grade girls’ track team
comes running, circling the field,
their thin and brown legs echoing
wild horses, wild horses, wild horses.