Gargoyle 19
cover photos by Richard Peabody (2) and Brian Sheridan
publication date 2/8/1982

From an Indian Woman's Bio

David Sheridan

she killed a she-wolf and
warmed her hands in its blood.

as a child
she played in the old irrigation ditches,
in an Anasazi time warp,
building dams and sluices
out of peach humus and sticks.

later she soloed-
renouncing the moon
and gargling with the crows at dawn,
she negotiated a treaty with the cockroaches:
the day’s mine, the night’s yours.

it did not suffice
she could lick rainbeads from a mustard-lichened stone
and dip her fingers into stew for the mussels,
ripping out the orange flesh in her teeth
tonguing the garlicky juices,
but she couldn’t tame the panther.

that’s what I want,
put down the crucifix, doctor,
and give me novocain,
I want a killer–novoCAIN.

in her middle years
she learned how to put her ear to the crested wheatgrass
and hear the panther’s approach,
he was too slow for her now,
her time had come, eternity had died.