Road Side Gas Stop, Black Hills, South Dakota


by Ken Meisel

The girl with the scar across her face from the fire
is singing at the top of her lungs about the policies

of the broken arrow. How the sacred pipe was
brought back to the people by White Buffalo Woman

after years of its absence because there had been
human sacrifice and the gasolining of the feminine

principle. All this in Rapid City, South Dakota,
where you can see the sacred Buffalo hoarding

something of their mystery in silence amongst
the Black Hills. I want to howl for the policy of the

broken arrow, here at the counter of the Big D Oil Co.
where I see the boy flipping his brother off as they

page through motor cross magazines while their
white daddy in his Stetson juices up the big F-150,

takes a big swig off the liquor bottle in his hand,
and he smacks their mother across her forehead

not once, but three times, after she pulls open
his hunting jacket to get the cigarettes they share.

I want to howl at the top of my lungs for this one act
of ceremonial love and affection between them,

sing for their sacred tobacco, the hoop dance they do
for Wakan Tanka, for love of the poisoned lung,

for love of the medicine dance of self disgust
and the tablets they buy for someoneís nausea.

I want to sing for the girl who has a scar on her face
as she rocks by herself holding Wakan Tankaís power,

sing for White Buffalo Woman and her sacred pipe,
sing for the rusted F-150 and the snow tires already

clanging beneath it across the exhausted blacktop. I want to
sing for the burned out liability of people who donít

give a shit. Sing loudly for the Black Hills surrounding us
and the pine piedmont where up road these people live.

Sing for the girl rocking herself to Wakan Tanka
and to White Buffalo Woman bringing blessings of beauty.

I want to sing for the trailer park and the medicine wheel
that it is, sing for the praising of valued items they break

in crowded quarters, bacon grease and splattered coffee
spread like engine oil across the kitchen counter. I want to

sing for the doorway that is opened, sing for the bundle
of child-woman holding her belly like it is sacred, sing for

the girl with the scar on her face rocking to Wakan Tankaís
power and to White Buffalo Womanís sacred pipe.

I want to sing for the rifles and guns in their trailer home
and all the angry buffalo roaming in it, and sing for their

fifteen year old daughter, alive and under the bed sheets,
a broken arrow, sick to her stomach, and pregnant.