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Poetry

Sherman Alexie

From The Unauthorized Biography of Me

Late summer night on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Ten Indi-
ans are playing basketball on a court barely illuminated by the

streetlight above them. They will play until the brown, leather ball

is invisible in the dark. They will play until an errant pass jams a

finger, knocks a pair of glasses off the face, smashes a nose and

draws blood. They will play until the ball bounces off the court

and disappears into the shadows.



This may be all you need to know about Native American literature.





from One Stick Song, Hanging Loose Press, 2000:



Migration, 1902



The salmon swim

So thick in this river



that Grandmother walks

across the water



on the bridge

of their spines.





from Crow Testament



1.



Cain lifts Crow, that heavy black bird

and strikes down Abel.



Damn, says Crow, I guess

this is just the beginning.



2.



The white man, disguised

as a falcon, swoops in

and yet again steals a salmon

from Crow’s talons.

Contributor

Sherman Alexie

SHERMAN ALEXIE is an author. He won the PEN/Faulkner Award for his 2009 novel, War Dances.

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The Brooklyn Rail

WINTER 2003

All Issues