Going to Remake This World
Morning and the snow might fall forever.
I keep busy. I watch the yellow dogs
chase creeping cars filled with Indians
on their way to the tribal office.
Grateful trees trickle the busy underside
of our snow-fat sky. My mind is right,
I think, and you will come today
For sure, this day when the snow falls.
From my window, I see bundled Doris Horseman,
black in the blowing snow, her raving son,
Horace, too busy counting flakes to hide his face.
He doesn’t know. He kicks my dog
and glares at me, too dumb to thank the men
who keep him on relief and his mama drunk.
My radio reminds me that Hawaii calls
every afternoon at two. Moose Jaw is overcast,
twelve below and blowing. Some people…
Listen: if you do not come to this day, today
of all days, there is another time
when breeze is tropic and riffs the green sap
forever up these crooked cottonwoods. Sometimes,
you know, the snow falls forever.
Snow Country Weavers
A time to tell you things are well.
Birds flew south a year ago.
One returned, a blue-wing teal
wild with news of his mother’s love.
Mention me to friends. Say
wolves are dying at my door,
the winter drives them from their meat.
Say this: say in my mind
I saw your spiders weaving threads
to bandage up the day. And more,
those webs were filled with words
that tumbled meaning into wind.
-from Riding the Earthboy 40 (Penguin Books 2004) selected by Spring 2022 Guest Editor, CMarie Fuhrman
James Welch (1940 – 2003) was the author of the novels Winter in the Blood, The Death of Jim Loney, Fools Crow (for which he received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, an American Book Award, and the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award), The Indian Lawyer, and The Heartsong of Charging Elk. Welch also wrote a nonfiction book, Killing Custer: The Battle of the Little Bighorn and the Fate of the Plains Indians, and a work of poetry, Riding the Earthboy 40. He attended schools on the Blackfeet and Fort Belknap reservations in Montana, graduated from the University of Montana, where he studied writing with the late Richard Hugo, and served on the Montana State Board of Pardons.