Bill and I stand in the rain smoking
A Gypsy from Romania joins us.
Bill and I talk about the Portland Powwow.
The Gypsy asks, "What's a powwow?"
Bills says, "It's a celebration.
Indian people dance and sing for life."
The Gypsy says, "It's not a talk?
Like Bush and Gorbachev? They come
to an agreement in their powwow."
"We agree to celebrate," I say.
It's been raining for days.
It's going to keep raining for days.
Bill says, "It's a religious event.
People get together to sing and dance."
The Gypsy says, "Do Indians believe
the Mormons? They say Indians
are a lost tribe of Jews."
"Mormons say a lot of things," I say.
Then the Gypsy says, "White men killed
the Indians in the east and the west.
It's in their nature to kill."
Bills asks Gypsy from Romania,
"What do the Gypsies believe?"
The Gypsy looks away and doesn't answer.
The rain keeps falling: it will rain
for days and days and more days.
Thinking aloud I say, "Probably
like Indians, the old religion of Gypsies
was a belief in the creation of all things
and the holiness of sky, land, and people."
To the things I say, the Gypsy says, "No."
His voice is very quiet, and he looks away.
Bill and I both look at the Gypsy.
"The rain," I say, feeling the constant rain.
Today the rain cannot be denied at all.
"No," the Gypsy says, and he looks at Bill.
And then looks at me and Bill, and he asks,
"How did you Indian guys make it?"
Out There Somewhere
(University of Arizona Press, 2002)