Cody Dancing

A boy in a sleeveless tee, his pale torso

twisted to one side, pushes his metal

walker frame ahead of him. He drags crumpled

feet across the grassy powwow ground.


Spurred by the drums, he joins in

every one of the dances: the Smoke Dance,

the Sneak-Up Dance, the Honor Dance.

Falling, he is helped up on his feet again.


A medicine man steps alongside him,

passes the wing-feather of a golden eagle

over and above him as he reels

through the long day in hot sun.


Someone puts a war-bonnet on his head

to show who he really is. And now

the sky-being soars. Still dancing, Cody

is called up for the money prize.


from The Cream of the Well: New and Selected Poems (Luath Press, 2014), © Valerie Gillies 2014, used by permission of the author.

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