by Larry Brody
NOTE FROM LB:
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Or at least the moment I’d been waiting for all my life until it happened. Not that I knew it – then.
How I Met the Navajo Dog
People ask how I met my friend the Navajo dog.
I tell them a story about driving cross-country
And being called to her side while passing through
Gallup, in New Mexico. Suddenly, while driving down
West Aztec Boulevard I knew that my dog was waiting for me.
No, not in Gallup. That would have been too easy.
Farther north, in the place named,
By European immigrants and not the People who lived
There, Monument Valley. I drove to Navajo Country,
And there she was, a puppy then,
With her mother and a sister, living in the
Shadow of the rock called the Left Mitten, and
When she saw me, the little red and white creature
(With ears like a bat and a mask over both eyes)
Jumped into my car. “Let’s go,” she said. “Come
On.” A Navajo woman was watching, and she
Assured me it was just fine. “The mother’s been
chasing sheep,” she told me. “We’re going to
Shoot her in the morning. Her and her pups that have
Survived.” I took the dog to a small pet shop in Kayenta (even
The Navajo nation has malls), and got her some food,
And two bowls, and a collar and leash.
The Navajo dog ate the food, drank some water,
Bore the collar, and munched up the leash. Her
Eyes said, “I can only go so far.” That evening,
We went to the laundromat, where I
Asked advice on her name. Everyone had a
Different Navajo word for it: “Bandit,” “Wolf,” “Fox,”
“Thief,” but the Navajo dog ignored them, and
That night, as I slept in the cheapest motel room,
I heard the dog’s voice. “I am Navajo,” she said
Proudly. “I live with the desert. I drink
Mud from indented rocks. I eat horse dung and
Cheetos, and I feel both the past and the future
Inside. I am Navajo,” she repeated with pride.
“I am alone, yet together. I am of the People
Five times cursed and blessed.
Stick with me, kid,” she said, “and look forward
And backward. Let the present take care of
Itself. Stick with me, kid, and take the kicks
And the beatings, the heat and the hunger,
The cold of a ground so frozen you can only be
Buried with fire.
I am the People,” she said. “Stick with me,
And you too will be cursed and blessed,
For such,” she moaned sadly,
“Is the way of the Navajo dog.”
See? A true story. True, every word.
For that too is the
Way of the Navajo dog.
Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. Although the book whose cover you see above is for sale on Kindle, he is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out to me, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lost your vision, and yourself.” It was the first time LB ever heard a dog scoff. But not the last.