Wearing Indian Jewelery

I was wondering why that guy
wore the blanket coat, bone choker, rock
watch, woven buckle, quilled Stetson—
I was wondering why he wore
that beaded vest, like a ledger drawing
or a Winter Count, its skinny figure
forever sneaking after two bison
around belly to back,
around back to belly—
I was wondering why, when he said,
I wear these getups every day—
Every day, because these things
are sacred, these things are prayer.

Then I knew I could live this life
If I had blue horses
painted around and around me,
shells and beads like rain in my ear
praying Prairie open in me
at stoplight, hard city, last call, bank line,
coffee break, shopping cart, keycode,
Prarie open in me
Prarie open in me
every day every day every day.

Heid E. Erdrich, "Wearing Indian Jewelry" from Fishing for Myth. Copyright © 1997 by Heid E. Erdrich.  Reprinted by permission of New Rivers Press.
Source: Fishing for Myth (New Rivers Press, 1997)
More Poems by Heid E. Erdrich