indigenous role model


We look the part, it was past midnight, well into the weekend
Coming out of Detroit into the Canada side, border guards and checks
We are asked,
Who are you Indians and which side are you from?
Barney answers in a broken English 
He talks this way to white people, not to us
Our kids, my children are wrapped and sleeping in the back seat
He points with his lips to half-eyed Richard in the front
That one too
Richard looks like he belongs to no one
Just sits there wild-haired like a Menominee would
And my wife, not true, but hidden under the windshield at the edge of this country
We feel immediately suspicious and we can’t help but laugh
Kids stir around in the backseat
But it is the border guard who is anxious
He is looking for crimes, stray horses for which he has no apparent evidence
Where are you going, Indians?
In an Indian car trying to find a Delaware Powwow that was barely mentioned in Milwaukee
Northern Singing and a Northern sky
Moon in a colder air
Not sure of the place but knowing the name, we ask,
The border guard thinks he might have the evidence
It pleases him
Stars out, clear into Canada
And he knows only to ask,
Is it a bar?

Crossing the border into Canada
We are silent
Lights and businesses we drive toward
Could be America, too
Following us
Into the North