Back when I used to be Indian
I am standing outside the
pool hall with my sister.
She strawberry blonde. Stale sweat
and beer through the
open door. A warrior leans on his stick,
fingers blue with chalk.
Another bends to shoot.
His braids brush the green
felt, swinging to the beat
of the jukebox. We move away.
Hank Williams falls again
in the backseat of a Cadillac.
I look back.
A wind off the distant hills lifts my shirt,
brings the scent
of wounded horses.

  • Mark Turcotte, “Battlefield” from Poetry (May 2000). Copyright © 2000 by Mark Turcotte. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

  • Source: The Poetry Anthology 1912-2002 (2002)

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"Participating in Poetry Out Loud has taught me a lot of things, but I think the one thing I didn't expect to learn is how alive a poem can become when read out loud. I also learned that even words written as much as a hundred years ago can resonate with me and be relevant to my life."
Gypsy Prince
2015 OR POL Champion