Friendship Days at Akwesasne


Maurice Kenny

Summer of '84   .   .   .   Annual Event
For Francis
Humid afternoon by the St. Lawrence
women canoe-racers paddle the river;
full of fry-bread, soda and hot
strawberry-rhubard pie
I stumble under the cedar arbor
to listen to the drum and singing.

Outfitted Mohawks circle a "stomp dance."
I take a place on a bench near
an elder woman who asks in Mohawk,
what do I do? Tote bag slung over my
left shoulder I figure I should own up.
"I'm a writer,"   .   .   .   in smiles.
"What kind?" she asked, really curious.
"A poet," I replied proudly   .   .   .  
to which she offered a grunt,
got up from the bench and huffed off.

Well, maybe she was right.

© 1988 Maurice Kenny
From Humors and/or Not So Humorous and reprinted in On Second Thought, University of Oklahoma Press.

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