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  Patrick Frank

Aftermath of a Car Wreck in Zuni

The night before my accident, I play Santa Claus again
at St. Anthony School. The kids secretly wave to me.
They know the real me under my suit
The next day, I do not see anything but the blinding
sun, and I feel a great crunch. Then a man runs up. I
almost die. Everything changes
Another hospital. Staring up at the hospital lights,
Unable to move, I struggle for breath and a nurse
holds my hand. Snow falls outside in Zuni.  I am
trapped inside with my broken vertebrae, trapped at
the Indian Health Service. My friend is gone and the
bus is shut down. The lady at the desk does not seem
to care. I explode in anger

No matter what, I will walk soon through the snow to
the coffee shop. The fasting priest with children
trailing behind him passes by Mustang. He seems to
know that I need healing. Later, I watch a snowy pro
game on TV. I am alone on Christmas Day. I feel
indifference around me. This is me. I let my anger out
I dream of an older man I know. I always wished he
were my father. I will call him, far away. The wind
blows hard around my trailer. Other than that, I am
alone with silence, the ones I love precious
As I walk through the snowstorm in Zuni, ravens are
above, and huge dogs on the ground encircle me, but I
come to no harm.  Suddenly, I stop fighting the only
thing that can heal me, this hateful brace. Finally, a
Sioux man down at Mustang stops hating me just when I
find out about the suffering that still exists at Pine
It is the end of the Zuni New Year and I walk into a
changed pueblo with bonfires glowing at dawn,
explosions and the pure joy of a peaceful greeting. My
son and family finally call from Florida. Someone says
"I love you" in the background. I tell them about the
Zuni bonfires
On New Yearıs morn I greet my Zuni friends at Mustang.
Everyone laughs at my encounter with the big dogs. I
feel peace.

Awakened by Zuni fireworks at two AM.  They make a
quiet sound for what seems like forever.  I see their
glow.  There is only light at the top of the red mesa.
 I am very tired and don't care what happens to me
now.  I am free 

A teacher's aide comes by.  I give her a book
"Radiance Descending" for her daughter and feel
everything is changing.  Sister Claire will help me
with the laundry.  The sun is glowing off the mesa and
the birds cry calling me.  Now the sun's glow at dawn
shows me the mesa's many contours.  Clouds come now.
The mesa appears smooth and dark

Down at Mustang, a Zuni girl asks for a loan.  She is
trying to raise three kids. I know very well I am not
her savior.  Then a kid shows me all of his gang signs
and tattoos.  We are friends but he stays quiet while
the other gang-bangers make fun of me

The other night a Zuni woman snuck into my trailer
with fry bread because I was not afraid and did not
lock my door

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