- How can I call it 'home', old land pinched between Spanish and American
invasions, peripheral to the town of low-riders cruising the strip of fast
food? Colonization stares back at me in the shared genetics, light brown eyes
of the people of the town and the Indian Pueblo named after a Catholic saint.
Some things never change: land as catharsis, as memory, a woman's prayer as
deliberate as cloud shaped into a loaf of bread. A similar drumbeat bridges
the distance between the main village and the small house in which I live.
Tribal police advise us to stay clear of the windows, inside the house.
Outsider, I will comply grateful for prayers that include everything
external to the Pueblo, and me. Here is a moment when invasion takes a turn,
becomes a wandering, curious eye of imagination, leads up the dirt road, rises
a high hill behind the house from where the dancers are sure to come in the
early morning while we sleep. I turn out my porch light, herd the children in
to watch TV, fall asleep before the end of a movie. They are oblivious to our
tenuous occupancy of the house built in the middle of the last century of the
tenacious blood of survivals not their own. On days other than expected
Sundays, the church bells chime the drama of living a beehive existence. News
comes by way of the lady who lives next door, of deaths and dancing and
guarded chit chat. Overhead, summer cloudheads now gather to roll thunder
into the core of being, and from every direction, the reverent anticipation of
blessing. When we leave, we take only the happy mongrel pup with two
blackened eyes, our spectral metaphor of living on the margins of the margins
where we are obliged to avert our gaze.
From The River of History, Trask House Press.
© 1998 Gloria Bird
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