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Monday, April 13, 2015

Little Brother and Tall Boy

Here on the land
created by wasi'chu
Little Brother looks up to Tall Boy
Tall Boy takes him to the prairie
and tells him stories he learned
from the ghosts who now sleep
Here on the prairie Tall Boy
is a hero to the younger children
because he leads his war party
to victory after victory

Little Brother falls down a lot
and Tall Boy picks him up
to put him on his shoulders
Little Brother loves the ride
but gets too excited
while getting dizzy
Tall Boy understands
that Little Brother's mother
went to White Clay once to often
So now Little Brother is
the butt of jokes at school
from his own people
some of whom have
fetal alcohol syndrome too

He goes out to the prairie
to throw a stick for dog
Dog is his best friend
after Tall Boy
Tall Boy gets the cheers
pats on the back
calls from giggling girls
who are too shy to say anything
across the invisible wires

One day Tall Boy got mad
and jumped so high
he put two holes in the ceiling
on either side of a beam
Little Brother goes to see his
friend because it's been a bad day
He finds Tall Boy sleeping
at the end of a rope
beneath the beam
that holds up the roof

Little Brother will ask his mother
when she wakes up
when Tall Boy can carry
him on his shoulders
Tall Boy will sleep a long time
beyond his life on the reservation
beyond the life of stars
beyond the time of ghosts

Barry G. Wick

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