Tuesday, April 29, 2008


for Hawk

He was seven then
when we visited South Dakota
together for the very first time
he had been on planes before
but on this trip he realized
it might be a dangerous

that despite his name
people really couldn't fly
and what goes up eventually
must come down and we were
up very high as he noticed
while asking nervously
if those were clouds
below us as he stared out the
plane's window but that worry
passed quickly he was more
concerned with finding Michaelangelo
his teenage mutant ninja turtle
that he hadn't seen since we'd
had a bite to eat in the airport

he asked me again if I thought there
would be graffiti in the town we were
going I said there probably wasn't too much
on the rez but maybe some in
Rapid City we would be staying there for a day
or two before going on to the Sun Dance
he said he wanted to see what kind
of graffiti, they had in other towns
besides Berkeley and Oakland

Michaelangelo mysteriously turned up
in the trunk of the rental car as we were
taking out our bags at the motel
he kept looking around for the writing on walls
of that cowboy city but I couldn't spot any either

that night as we were reading a bedtime story
he stopped and asked mom do you think there
is no graffiti because there are mostly old people
living here and I said no I think it's probably
because they have strict laws against it and
young people are scared of what will happen
if they are caught doing it

he looked at me confused as if street art were the
most natural thing in the world and why would
anyone be punished for expressing themselves
in this way and then said they would go to jail
I said yes I think so

the next morning we visited a few shops and
the local amusement park with a Flinstone theme
in the afternoon we were scheduled to visit Mount
Rushmore so at lunch I explained about the
The Black Hills and how sacred they are to the Lakota
people and how we should take the camera because
we might see some eagles on the way he fell asleep
and I kept feeling like there was something I had
forgotten to say about our trip and I worried about
him being so small with just me to be everything to him
he woke up just as we pulled into the parking lot
at Mount Rushmore, he was still a little sleepy as we
walked along to get up to the place where one views
the monument. He held my hand tight and I said
look there, that's what they did to the Black Hills
he looked and looked and was very quiet
I thought he must still be very sleepy from his

he suddenly pulled me close looked up at me and
said in a solemn voice, "mom, mom those are the Black Hills"
and pointing at the monument he said,
"that is the white man's graffiti".

©/s Odilia Galvan Rodriguez, 2008


Rowan Stickland said...

Wow Odilia that's such a lovely story and i love the way you have written it in that really simple no punctuation way like a child almost with out pause except for the desperate breath. Well Done x

Tara Evonne Trudell said...

Odilia, that was powerfully written. Sometimes there is no explanation for the tears that fall...it's just trusting the feeling. I thank you for your words, always, as I follow my path with more clarity.
Blessings amiga~ Tara