A Shirt, A Car

by Amanda Powell[easy-media med=”7901″]

Amanda Powell

(Old Celilo Falls, now The Dalles Dam; Columbia River, 1957)

We lost

forces course


We got


An eagle      passes       three       times.
Once, to see.
Two to doubt.
Third, she knows to forget

where shimmer and muscle no
longer wrestle up-

I was a boy.

My father, his father
was all for Indian Reorganization
under John Collier, Indian Agent.  The “Indian
New Deal.”   More pull, Grand-Dad said.

A lotta tussle for less, there at the short
end of the stick,
my Dad called it, but went along, became
a sort of head man too.


At the time I got a new shirt, blue
threads shiny, light
on wet rocks.

My family, we got a Thunderbird

Ford, moved us

back to the reservation,
new house, new street.

“Future,” they said.
As if, Dad said, you cut off
your feet
and step forward.

Your hands, see,
and still

try to cup the net-pole to what
rivers hold.

The land lost
pulse, a
place to                                                              breathe

back there,
the way
the Falls

– I was 5, 6, too young
to hold the net-pole –

rise in spray

into the gut, the head.

The land got turbines,
power,               a way

deeper I guess

into a kind of
night, kind
of winter.

2 thoughts on “A Shirt, A Car

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s