Two tourists on a Navaho reservation
drive down a goat path to shoot the big rock,
called Shiprock (or Tsé Bit’ a’í by the natives,
a name the tourists didn’t know then
and don’t know now). This white couple
in a rental car, back seat filled with cameras
on Navaho land so stark, so spiritual, so
far from town. That big gorgeous rock looms.
They drive closer although the ruts send a message
to turn back if they could only hear it—
so many messages they’ve missed like the raven
on the fence post that stares, just stares.
Entitled and naive, a combination that waltzes
through rattlesnake country in bare feet.
A little research would have told them
they shouldn’t drive through someone’s church.
No surprise then when out of nowhere four guys in an old Cadillac convertible
cradling rifles, way past a friendly warning,
circle like a wolfpack eager to toy with two
trapped rabbits too far from their warren, rabbits
whose twitching muscles and darting eyes
acknowledge they are going to lose something here.
If they’re lucky. Everything if they’re not.
Cynthia Knorr is the author of A Vessel of Furious Resolve (Finishing Line Press). Her poems have appeared in SWWIM Every Day, Café Review, Healing Muse, The Comstock Review, Chiron Review, and many others. After a career as a medical writer in New York City, she relocated to Strafford, New Hampshire.