The Drum in the high school commons,
Every morning at 8:20 a.m..
A heartbeat for this day.
The heartbeat of warriors and soldiers,
Of eagle feathers and full regalia.
The heartbeat of jingle dresses, fancy shawls,
and ghost dancers.
The blood of brown people, buffalo people.
From deep inside the earth and time,
A circle, the center of a tribe.
Now, the drum sees me:
White, young, idealist.
Unsure if bending my knees
to the beat is appropriate,
but unable to stop myself.
I watch students,
baggy jeans and hooded sweatshirts.
They line the walls.
Leaning, not dancing.
I count them.
Where are they all?
Why aren’t they all here?
I’m afraid for them.
Afraid they will not make it through this day
without a heartbeat.
Who are you?
The drum asks me,
bending your knees to my beat?
You do not belong here.
My beat cannot refill your bleeding heart.