Sherman Alexie

            Crow Testament


Cain lifts Crow, that heavy black bird
and strikes down Abel.

Damn, says Crow, I guess
this is just the beginning.


The white man, disguised
as a falcon, swoops in
and yet again steals a salmon
from Crow's talons.

Damn, says Crow, if I could swim
I would have fled this country years ago.


The Crow God as depicted
in all of the reliable Crow bibles
looks exactly like Crow.

Damn, says Crow, this makes it
so much easier to worship myself.


Among the ashes of Jericho,
Crow sacrifices his firstborn son.

Damn, says Crow, a million nests
are soaked with blood.


When Crows fight Crows
the sky fills with beaks and talons.

Damn, says Crow, it's raining feathers.


Crow flies around the reservation
and collects empty beer bottles

but they are so heavy
he can carry only one at a time.

So, one by one, he returns them
but gets only five cents a bottle.

Damn, says Crow, redemption
is not easy.


Crow rides a pale horse
into a crowded powwow
but none of the Indians panic.

Damn, says Crow, I guess
they already live near the end of the world.

Sherman Alexie, One Stick Song, Hanging Loose
Press, 2000.