Gary Every has appeared in many publications including Home Planet News and Nerve Cowboy. He lives in Oracle, Arizona.
My friend lives in a teepee,
hidden amidst the oak covered hills.
He points to a shallow mountain pass
“ 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,
“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;
Some scat is fresh;
with bits of paper inside-
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.
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.