by Alan Walowitz

I watched old Westerns every day
when I was young,
Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, The Restless Gun—
but Indians—that’s what we called them then—
seemed more alive, but for the targets on their backs—
slept close to the earth;
hardly made a sound;
walked with soft intention;
found their way
by the light of the moon.
Sat in a circle to hear the elders
speak slow, their measured words far apart
as clouds in an indigo sky.

I’m always in a hurry to get nowhere,
no matter the little I have to do,
and rattle the teacups as I go
and get undone by the silence
that can travel with love.

My ear’s to the ground more frequently now
when I fall to the floor,
shattered awake from worry of this world.
No hoofbeats. Only faint heartbeats
now and then, and from deep within.
Maybe it’s enough, could save us,
if we stop and listen for them
while we can.

PAINTING: Small Catcher by T.C. Cannon (1973-1978).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: It’s a fairly common trope to bless native peoples whenever we consider the mess we’ve made of the earth. There’s probably not much more to say about that in a poem. However, the Cleveland Indians will be known as the Guardians starting next season. I was dubious, at first, but now I kind of like that name. Maybe it reminds us all,  all we have to do is listen.

Alan 10-5-21 copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alan Walowitz is a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry. His chapbook, Exactly Like Love, comes from Osedax Press. The full-length The Story of the Milkman and Other Poems is available from Truth Serum Press. Most recently, from Arroyo Seco Press, is the chapbook In the Muddle of the Night, written trans-continentally with poet Betsy Mars.