For the Girl on the Bus
If you have to be a young, broke Indian
girl from Albuquerque,
travel 1200 miles to deliver yourself
to old women who live on salmon.
They will welcome you
with something traditional and something twisted.
They are women from the She-Rises-from-the-Water clan.
They will look familiar to you.
Their faces are dark as Oregon plums,
and softer than your mother’s and your auntie’s were.
Since you are part husk and part sky,
you will never return to the desert.
They will show you how to fish and carry driftwood.
You will wear a shawl made of gray light.
Besides being part sky,
you are vibration from a broken drum,
and the sweetness from your early mistakes.
Not knowing all of this,
you will feel alone
and dream of making
a swing of string for your escape.
Guessing at your sadness,
one of the old women, quiet as a plum,
teaches you four of her tribal songs.
You will like learning each one, one at a time.