November Becomes the Sky With Suppers for the Dead

By Gordon Henry Jr. b. 1955 Gordon Henry
I am standing outside
in Minnesota
ghost wind recalling
names in winter mist

The road smells
of dogs two days dead

White photographers talk in
the house of mainstream
media

I can’t articulate
the agony of Eagle Singer’s
children to them.

We celebrate the old
man while another
generation shoots
crushed and heated
prescriptions
sells baskets,
machinery,
the fixtures yet to be
installed in the house,
yet to be heated
by the tribal government,
for another night
stolen by the stupors
and the wondrous
pleasure of forget
everything medicines.

Back inside
Uncle Two Dogs rolls me
a smoke out of
organic American Spirit

I look to a last cup
of coffee.

The way home
fills with snow
our tracks
human and machine.

Gordon Henry, Jr., “November Becomes the Sky with Suppers for the Dead” from The Failure of Certain Charms: And Other Disparate Signs of Life. Copyright © 2007 by Gordon Henry, Jr.. Reprinted by permission of Salt Publishing.

Source: The Failure of Certain Charms: And Other Disparate Signs of Life (Salt Publishing, 2007)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Gordon Henry Jr. b. 1955

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Living, Time & Brevity, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Nature, Fall, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Race & Ethnicity, Life Choices

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Gordon  Henry Jr.

Biography

Gordon Henry Jr. is an Anishinabe and an enrolled member of the White Earth Chippewa Tribe of Minnesota. His father was in the U.S. Navy, and Henry grew up on military bases. He earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin, Parkside; an MA in English and creative writing from Michigan State University; and a PhD from the University of North Dakota. He is the author of the poetry chapbook Outside White Earth . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Nature, Fall, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Race & Ethnicity, Life Choices

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.