Walking past headstones at Wounded Knee,
I am tourist for the day.
Watching names rise from the parched earth,
planted back in the sorrowful season—
No Ears, Yellowbird, Her Many Horses . . .
Death grows well in the little cemetery on the hill,
where prairie grass struggles to breathe,
and trees never do achieve a graceful height.
An Indian stops by with an offering.
The wind sifts and carries the dust of his ancient song to the dead,
through granite and ground, back to bone.
His song resonates, sticks in my Adam’s rib,
catches hold of my breath.
And I stand, head bowed in Sunday reverence,
waiting for the benediction.
A moment later we turn to go—
him to his Chevy,
me to my compact—
Each to his own America.