Table Across the Street from the Reservation School


January 11, 2015

Sitting, at the southwest table.
The Cougar Den is the only
gas station restaurant in town.

First bell rang ten minutes ago.
He sits, black cap backwards, at the opposite
wall table, two in front.

She walks in,
shawl dances around her, as
wind gusts through shutting door.

A glance across the room,
she strides to counter, orders,
then coffee in hand fringes soar as birds.

Black bill rises, like duck of water
after eating in the shallows,
head drops and hides.

Shawl spreads like hawk wings,
her stride summons the wind.
“Aren’t you supposed to be in school?”

The bill is still, the air is quiet.
Elder voice shivers blue and green fringes,
duck quivers as hawk circles.

Shawl hand rests on bill shoulder,
ducks bob on water,
feet dangling in trauma.

Water stills,
quiet words between blue green wings
“com‘on I’ll walk with you to school.”

Shawl hand raises and wings fill
nike’s trod
wind gusts through opening door.

White guy sits quiet,
hawk and black billed duck
cross the street.

White guy at a southwest table
first bell rang fifteen minutes ago
students hurried out sixteen minutes ago

Twelve minutes ago young man sits
at table on opposite wall
two in front

Ten minutes ago, school security badged
uniform enters, orders coffee
walks to the table opposite and two in front

Two hundred and thirty pounds of white skinned
badged uniform ask, “Aren’t you supposed to be in school?”
with kindness swirling in authority

Uncombed hair, dark eyes, hands on table
no visible movement
quiet excuse

Coffee, badge, dark uniform
hesitantly turns and walks out door

Five minutes ago, badged uniform and suited
white male counselor walk through the door
“Shouldn’t you be in school?’

Quiet response
counselor quiet, restrained
“You are old enough to make your own decisions.”

Silence. “you’re old enough to make your
own decisions, but you could make
better decisions.”

Silence. “you’re old enough to make your
own decisions. But I don’t believe you’re
making good ones.”

Suite and badged uniform turn
heavy footsteps move toward door
opening to stillness, on both sides

White guy sits quiet
butt glued to seat

What if wise beaded foot or
beaded hat band were to sit
at the opposite table, two in front.

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