POETS Main Page INDEX of Poets INDEX of Titles & First Lines Tapahonso Menu

Tapahonso 

Luci Tapahonso
Navajo, b.1953

 
"Hard to Take"

 

Sometimes
this middle of the road business
is hard to take.

Last week in Gallup,
I was in line at Foodway
one checkstand open and
a long line of Navajos waiting
          money and foodstamps in hand
          waiting to buy food and pop.

My turn and I fumble
dropping the change
          Sorry, I say, sorry
          The cashier looks up smiling
          first smile in 20 minutes of Navajo customers
          Oh that's okay. Are you Navajo?
          I swear, you don't have an accent at all!

          She's friendly too quick and I am uneasy.
          I say to the people behind me
          Ha' 'at'ii sha'ni?
          Why is she saying that to me?
We laugh a little under our breaths
and with that
          I am another Navajo
          she doesn't greet or thank.

My change is dropped in front of me
          and we are not surprised by that.

Merle Norman offers a free make-up job
          just the thing for a new look
          I say to myself and stop in
          for an appointment.

For 15 minutes, I wait for a saleslady
then I ask for an appointment outright.
          Just a moment, she says,
          someone will be with you shortly.

I wait some more while the salesladies
          talk about a great hairdresser,
          General Hospital and Liz Taylor.

So I just leave, shortly is too long,
seeing as I'm the only customer in the place.

I guess I can do without a new look
but this kind of business
          sure gets hard to take.

© Luci Tapahonso
Buy Luci Tapahonso's poetry

POETS Main Page INDEX of Poets INDEX of Titles & First Lines Tapahonso Menu