Gary Every

Gary Every has appeared in many publications including Home Planet News and Nerve Cowboy. He lives in Oracle, Arizona.

Bear Dance

My friend lives in a teepee,
hidden amidst the oak covered hills.
He points to a shallow mountain pass
and says,
“ Last storm, I was playing my drum to the rain
when I swear
that I saw
a bear silhouetted on the ridge.”
As we ramble between the cholla and the scrub brush,
he says,
“I was a little afraid
so I played my drum loudly
to frighten him away.”
We climb to the mountain pass
and discover where a tall tree
has been struck by lightning;
a branch is split and splintered.
The bark is charred.
Beneath the tree
is a pile of bear shit;
several piles.
Some scat is fresh;
with bits of paper inside-
trash bear.
The mountain pass is apparently a corridor,
a regular bruin highway
to the edge of our rural suburbia.
I tell Jerry,
“You had better beat the drum loudly,
to scare the bears away.”
He shakes his head.
It will never work.

Bears love to dance.

Soya

Atop the Hopi Mesa
a soft warm desert wind pushes
horse tail clouds and tiny white butterflies
to the edge of the cliff.
The ravens scavenge trash far below.
While I stand on edge of the precipice,
so high my head spins from vertigo.
Jerry plays his Native American flute
and a rock wren bobs his head to the beat
while the construction workers shovel and hammer in rhythm
like a shaman’s drum and rattle.
I eat some blue corn piki bread
cooked by the brown grandmother
who has welcomed us into her home,
her living room filled with old photos
and art for sale-
art made by herself, her children, and grandchildren.
All art is for sale
except for one piece
drawn by her great grandchild,
a picture of an old lady, his beloved Soya,
watering a giant sunflower.
“He drew a picture of me,” she says with a smile,
“Because I am always watering plants.”
Before we leave,
she asks Jerry to play another song.
“Maybe it will bring rain,” she says.
I stand beneath the shadow of a satellite dish
waiting for a truck to thunder by
atop a narrow mesa
while prayer sticks adorned by eagle feathers
wave in the summer wind.
From high atop the mesa
I watch a vast landscape
which has seen only superficial changes
for thousands of years
and countless generations of Hopi grandmothers
praying for rain and watering flowers.