Medicine Wheel

"Talking Robe" by Howard Terpning, limited edition print on page, 1995

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The doctor gave me my ticket
and I had my grandson
drive me to the bus station
didn’t need a book to read
just long hazy naps with the sun
on my face as we finally
rolled out of the big city and into
the endless maze of small town bus stops
and gas stations that connect rural
America like an artery of poverty
and diesel emissions
we climbed into the foothills
and recognizing a landmark
I got off, and headed up the trail
to the medicine wheel my grandfather
had shown me when I took my name
it was a small fire this time
but as I took pulls on the pipe
offering to the wind, to the sky
to the earth, to the sun
to each direction of the arrow
they gathered round my fire
as we sang the songs that linked
this world with the next

Copyright © 2013 Paul Allen Bruce.
Painting: "Talking Robe" by Howard Terpning, limited edition print on paper, 1995.