Snow Slip Bar and Café

Behind double barbed wire fences

the bulk of the tribal bison herd

grazes on silence. The rest

gaze west toward the Rockies.

That late-afternoon at Snow Slip

he leaned, left arm behind, back

against the far end of a short bar;

and in Siksika, glass raised,

greeted me friend.

I race horses, thoroughbreds, he said,

I have a master’s degree,

he said. I teach phys-ed in Browning,

he said. I’ve been assimilated, he said,

I’m Catholic. Star School,

but I’m not, he said. I’m Pikuni.

Did you ever take a sweat?

It’s good to take a sweat. My boy

is eight. He cries and I hug him.

The medicine man said