Four Pills for your Medicine Pouch (Pushcart Prize Nominee, SFLR 2018)

by Jesse Short Bull


Go to the agate beds, find a shard of stone.
Find one that is sharp with more than one face,
Put it to your ear and hear the song of man.
A seven-thousand-year-old tune.


Go to Wounded Knee. Trod shoes across blooddust,
Climb up the small hill beside the big grave.
Run your fingers through grass, pass the cartridge,
Pass the bead, pass the smell of yellow piss. Grab a soda pop tab.


Barge into the Horseshoe Bar, threaten a white man
With a knife. Make the bar silent. Terrorize the spirits.
Tear a dollar off the wall and curse up a storm.


Dream a Cheyenne woman in a desert city
Lock eyes with her on a dirty street.
Lick her cherry lips, count the hailstones
On her back, draw them on the pavement.