Percheron Nambe Morning

—for Travis and Vaughan and all the St. Catherine’s Indian School kids
dust, leaves twirling
up off road
under wheels
automotive    winds
turning,    lifting
giving force to such
delicate    particles
ends attached in former
position to branch
soft paper thin petal-
like reds and golds
much as the mane swings
blows back    from higher
plane winds    Percheron    gold
mane    that red Percheron
on the right
the north side
you’ve seen her
in the early morning
when it’s snowing she
raises her dignity
laughing at motorists
distressed by ice
and Pueblo patrol cars
we catch in peripheral
focus    signal    turn the
halogens off and on
on and off    until
they code the signal
distress signal
approaching tribal police
traffic trap
commuting    the
35 mph racket
through Nambe
Pojoaque turn    50
Tesuque Bingo/Pull-Tabs
long before the lodge
turned stone    near Camel Rock
before the Congested Area in
approach to the
“City of the Oldest Catholic Church in North America”
we convey these
danger signs    to
local yokels    perhaps even
tourists    if we’re in the mood
strange nation
neither of us belong
though    we do stay
in close    proximity to
these other    Native peoples
very different than where we
come from    still the same
only    sometimes    though
they know the patrol
man he’s their cousin
all of theirs
they know this whirl
these leaves    rising now
before our heated grill
Chevy 4x    ’91
they know the Percheron
she steals the scenery easily
with her laughter and turn
pitching hoof and tail
in mockery    indispensable humor
she takes this morning
under gray the shade of nickel
to cloud the stress enabling
me to speak to you of

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, “Percheron Nambe Morning ” from Visit to Teepee Town. Copyright © 1999 by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke. Reprinted by permission of Coffee House Press.
Source: Visit to Teepee Town (Coffee House Press, 1999)
More Poems by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke