Posts Tagged ‘Hopi’

On the Highway 145 Spur

“Hi Katie,” he says, as he got in the car.
“Hi Mike,” I say, “It’s Rosemerry.”
“Oh,” he says, “Yes. Hi Rosemerry,
I’ve been thinking a lot about
poetry and Alice Walker. I heard
a story about her on the radio. She’s black.
I like her,” says Mike. “I do, too,” I say.
I have gone all the way around the round about
so that I might drive in the wrong direction
to give a ride to Mike. It turns out he is going
quite a ways away, but he says he’d be happy
if I could take him just three miles down the road.
“I would love to,” I say, and I mean it.
Mike is wearing clothes that no longer fit him.
His pants are tucked into his tall black socks.
It is selfish, me picking him up. He is the man
I cross the street to say hi to, the man that I
make sure to bump into in the grocery store,
cornering him between the cans of black beans
and the measuring cups. He always tells me
the real news. “You know I live in the nursing home now,”
he says as he settles into the passenger seat.
“The nurses tell me eternity is real.”
I ask him, “Tell me more.”
He goes on to mention the rocks at Lava Falls
in the Grand Canyon, how they are over five billion years old.
I do not know if it’s true, what he says, but
I remember the rush when my husband to be and I
moved through those rocks on our raft, how time
that late summer day stopped.
“Time,” says Mike, “is a myth. Something that men
have created to make themselves more comfortable in space.
I like myths,” he says. “Like the Hopi, the Navajo, the Zuni.”
“Me, too,” I say. We both ignore that the car is
making loud beeps reminding him to put his seat belt on.
It would be difficult for him to manage it,
and it seems worth risk to say nothing.
I think of the only Hopi myth I know, how the first men
emerged from a single hole in the earth
and the mockingbird was there to greet each one,
and give him a language, a place and a tribe.
How much we have forgotten about who we are,
I think, since that day.
Already, Mike and I have travelled three miles through
a canyon only 220 million years old, the reddish-brown
Cutler formation forming the basal band of rocks.
I wish that the miles would stretch longer.
For a while, I forget who we are. Forget
we are driving. Forget the myths. Forget
we have names or origins. I am intent on
the sound of his voice as he tells me about
his 90-year-old mother and how much
he loves her and how she lives now
in California. The details are mundane.
The tone of his voice is outside of time.
And then he is climbing out of the car,
wishing me and my husband well.
“Tell him hi for me,” says Mike. “I will,” I say.
And drive three miles and an eternity
back up the road.

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