May 1998

Adrian C. Louis


R.T. Smith

R.T. Smith
  Muffy Bolding
  John Kinsella
  Richard Foerster
  A.F. Moritz
  Miriam Levine
  Louis Armand
  David Shevin
  Stellasue Lee
  Adrian C. Louis
  David Sutherland
  Gregory Djanikian
  Paolo M. Bottigelli

J.M. Spalding
  R.T. Smith

William Heath

Douglas Thornsjo

bit.gif (43 bytes) Adrian C. Louis is an enrolled member of the Lovelock Paiute Indian Tribe and was born and raised in Nevada. For the past fifteen years, he has taught on the Pine Ridge reservation of South Dakota. Louis has published seven collections of poems and two works of fiction; he has won several awards including a three-year fellowship from the Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Fund. His most recent collection of poetry is Ceremonies of the Damned, University of Nevada Press, 1997.
Song of the Snake    Read Along with the Author

Several years slithered by
and then an honor song played
on KILI-FM is how I find you
passed on to the spirit world.
First thought: the snake grew back.
There are some of us the snake will not
bite at all; we're either lucky or cursed.
Others will get bit, punch the snake in
the eyeball, and toss it away forever.

And others of us will get bit, yank
the snake away and leave the teeth
imbedded in our inflamed flanks.
We'll be fine for a while, then those
fangs will begin to gestate; eventually
the snake will grow back full-sized
and spitting, guiding us to stand
with shit-pants and wild, holy eyes,
hands out, begging for a cure.
Tahansi...that was you
when last we met.



Adios Again, My Blessed Angel    Read Along with the Author
of Thunderheads and Urine

Ah, so there you are, somewhere between the
demerol and the morphine, silently emptying
my catheter jug. Don't do that, I want to say,
but my voice is lost from two weeks on the
ventilator. Baby Girl, I want to say hello, say
I know your name, say how much I've always
loved you, but only a rasp comes and then you
are gone forever again.

I know I've got a crinkled picture of you
boxed somewhere in my shuttered house.
The image is as foreign as it is faded.
Somewhere west of Tulsa, you are leaning
against a black Bug, smiling and pointing
at a remarkable formation of thunderheads
that tower and bluster miles past heaven.
Your long, black hair dances below your waist.
Your worn Navy bell bottoms are snug against
your perfect legs, your strong, loving hips.
After I snap the photo, you tell me that
you're going back to nursing school.
Me, I'll wander in the wilderness for thirty years
before I see you again, and then, it will be only
for a brief minute while you empty my urine
bucket and I try to cough up words that
will not come like the flashing pain beneath
my sutures that signals healing and wonder.



Adrian C. Louis: Poetry
Copyright 1999 The Cortland Review Issue ThreeThe Cortland Review