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By Mark Turcotte

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)

  • Social Commentaries

Poet Bio

Mark Turcotte
Mark Turcotte was raised on North Dakota's Turtle Mountain Chippewa Reservation. After attending school in Lansing, Michigan, he lived on the road for nearly 15 years. Turcotte moved to Chicago in 1993, where his literary career was given a boost by Illinois Poet Laureate, Gwendolyn Brooks, who awarded him the first Gwendolyn Brooks Open-mic Poetry Award and named him a Significant Illinois Poet. Much of Turcotte's work deals with his personal experience straddling the line between the cultures of natives and whites. He reveals the harsh truths of prejudice and emphasizes the importance of knowing one's cultural heritage. See More By This Poet

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