Daily Archives: March 12, 2018

The Pebble In My Shoe

Inside the pebble in my shoe
might be a universe.

We don’t know
how much space a universe takes up.
Might be many civilizations in there,
colluding, working my foot into agony.

Maybe they think
they are appeasing God,
and maybe they are.

In the pebble universe
they serenely do not know
the nature of reality.

In this universe we also know 
little of the nature of reality —
the difference being
that we know this and are rendered
far less than serene by the knowledge.

Wait a second, you say —
if they know a universe and
are part of ours, why are we describing them
as separate from one another?
Isn’t this a case of scale
or compartmentalization?  All one
universe, broken into parts?

Wait a second, I say.
Boundaries, walls, hard edges.
I’m in pain.  There must be
another universe. Our own
would never hurt me.

In the pebble universe
they say
the same things we say here
only smaller.

Turning on the news
again in this universe and
watching the news of this universe,
or the news from inside the pebble
that irritates me so, or maybe
it’s the news of the one universe
that holds us all.  I’m in 
as much pain as all of them can hold
and unable to stumble away from it.


I never played lacrosse
but I often feel like
my brain’s been cradled 
in the throat of a stick 
since birth.

My dad’s goalie stick
is still on the basement wall
at the old home. He still
shows off the scar he got
playing in college.

People would ask him 
if he learned how
on the reservation
and he’d shrug it off in public 
then fume privately to me in the car
or the living room:

our folks 
played lacrosse
and I wasn’t there

long enough to learn
even if we had

There are fading
teenage sketches
still on the exposed drywall
next to where the stick hangs,
the largest being one 
of an old man’s lined face, long hair,
eyes wide open, looking to my right.

I think I drew that face
one summer before
I gave up
that kind of pen forever.

I recall that summer
I rubbed witch hazel
over the mosquito Braille
of my sunburnt
forearms and calves.

The only way I could ever draw a face
was to have it looking to the right,
not head on or to the left,
and the face’s eyes
never looked into mine
or yours.  Always a little side-eye,
always indirect.

I never played lacrosse.
I’ve never lived on the rez at all.
I haven’t drawn a face in years.
My father is so very old.
I can’t remember how witch hazel smells.

I’m going to die one day and I 
will have to come at it faking all the way —
split roll dodge. That’s a lacrosse move.
I looked it up. I have had
to look everything up

except for the look in my father’s eyes:
always a little side eye.
Always indirect.