sweatlodge in downtown toronto

delia tracks her copper toned body down dundas
to an alley off spadina
where a dumpster diver
offers her rice
wine & moldy pizza
the way a priest offers holy eucharist
except this prayer slips 
a broken tooth
and a heavy bottom lip

sta-gots! delia shakes
maybe some other time,
i’ll break bread with you
and drink your holy blood

delia scans a poster ad:
“summer solstice feast”
 or was is it “national aboriginal day”?
down at the local skin hang-out
you know, the friendship centre

but that doesn’t really matter to delia
after all, a feast is a feast,
and free food is good food
fry bread,
three sister soup
 guides her
like a vision quest
through the sizzling toronto smog
or a first time sweat
at dreamer’s rock
only all my relations doesn’t work

after seconds of fry bread
smothered in blueberry jam
and a sixth cup of red rose tea,
urban rez, the local drum group
begin a two-steppin frenzy

a sweaty,
slightly-brown stag
reaches for delia’s hand
chh, in her cree-way,
not even
it’s hotter than a bowl of sex
and i am in ass deep in venison already

chhh! ssss! ehhhh!
all neechees exclaim in unison
and delia goes breasts first
into his skinny arms

dusk settles in for a nightcap
while delia & her new/used buck
walk away
hands in each other’s back pocket

and the door of the sweatlodge
in downtown toronto
swings shut for the night.

Published in “Breaking the Surface” by Sono Nis Press, Victoria, BC. 2000.


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