Wednesday, December 10, 2008



Seymour and I steal the Bartender's car and drive
down the Crazy Horse Highway
until an ice cream truck cuts us off and I'm
halfway into the twenty-third wreck of my life.
Seymour yelling drive goddamn

it, drive, we come to a stop in the middle
of a wheat field,
Seymour upside down in the back seat while I
study the exact sculpture of my face smashed
into the glass of the windshield and Seymour
asks me if I am dead yet and I say no

give me a beer, but before he can, an Asian man
dressed in black reaches
through the window and whispers something
about his wife missing

for years somewhere
near Minidoka, Idaho, and then I recognize him,
he's the same one who walks the reservation road
carrying six garbage bags filled with old clothes
and shoes
he lines them up,
picks up the last one in line,
walks to the front,
sets it down
next to the others

then walks back and picks up the last bag again,
walks to the front and sets it down,
over and over for miles,
doing it for years and he reaches back
into the window of my car asks me
if I've seen his wife and I say no,
but do you need a ride

somewhere, and he shakes his head
points in no direction at all
but in the exact direction
he needs to go
and I understand that look in his eyes,
his vision still cut off by chain link fence
and dust and dreams,

the kind Seymour calls Crazy Horse dreams, the kind
that don't come true
just like my father,
who lost a gold tooth in the forty-sixth wreck
of his life
somewhere in Ford canyon

and he spends a few hours every week
with a metal detector,
scanning the ground
for that missing part, the part that came out whole
and bloodless,
but fills you up
with how much it stays gone.

Sherman Alexie......from The Business of Fancydancing


Jannie Funster said...

Jesus. This was good. And the photo perfect.

How many wrecks have you been in?

Me just two, one at 16 and one at 18. Well, a fender bender at 24, that doesn't really count.

And once I tore the door off a Honda 'cause it was open and a tree was right where I was backing up.

And never use sandpaper to clear the frost off your windshield, not even the folded edge of it. The glass does not respond forgivingly to such an endeavor.

Glenn Buttkus said...

Only one real wreck. When I was 37, in California, heading to work, a drunk came through a red light and T-boned my car. He was traverling at 35-40mph. It was a company car. Before I was 25 I had 12 fender benders, about half of them my fault; for the last 40 yeards maybe 8 more, half of them me backing into posts and trees and shit.

I usually pee on my iced up windows; works good but the stench is tough when you turn the heater on.