May 2011 - Comments Off on Saskatchewan


Sara Judy '11

I would ask you to believe here is only
flat with wheat grass and canola flowers
dust bowl dry and hot in the summer
whipping cold in the winter, painful white.
You will make a liar out of me if you listen.
The sky is the only whole truth I’ve told you,
and even that, badly. If I even speak about
the valley, the river cutting tight along tree lines,
the grass as fluid as the ocean, more deceptive,
just as deep, you will know the things I’ve hidden.
Jeweled fox backs and owl eyes, abandoned
silos like petrified giants, tractors and threshers
push out the fat bellied grouse, running forward
on their feet, chests out, under fences and
across the highway. The reservation dogs,
all lean muscle and teeth, big beautiful
half coyotes specked with blood-grey ticks
in the spring, who hang heavy in the fur
until the children pull them off to pop,
or they fall to the ground and splatter softly.
Barefoot boys play basketball outside
and check each other as hard as they do
during hockey season, smelling always of ice.
Growing up with scars from the rink, scars
from broken bottles, and scabbed mosquito bites;
raised by a crush of women: mothers, aunts, kokum.
Outside the rez store kids suck on candy,
drink cokes, turn the inside of their mouths
a sweet, corpse grey, when all the colors blend.
Garter snakes push up from
along the foundation of buildings, sweet
rotten musk left on the ground behind them.
Old men drink instant coffee and exhale
cigarette smoke into the darkness, so few
windows in the restaurant; hiding from the tiring sky.
So much space you need to move through
between the clouds’ shadows, to stand in the sun.

About the Author: Sara Judy '11 studies literature, and was recently awarded an American Academy of Poets prize for her senior thesis in poetry.

Published by: in Poetry, Volume 67: Issue 2

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