Mudlark Flash No. 48 (2009)

Sevenlings | Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie is the author of 21 books of poetry and prose, including The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, the winner of the 2007 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, and Face, a book of poetry from Hanging Loose Press. He lives with his family in Seattle. For more information on Sherman please visit his official website at And for an account of the sevenling as a poetic form, its derivation and description, have a look at APJ, The American Poetry Journal, edited by J.P. Dancing Bear.


This is the last poem I will write about salmon,
My tribe’s Jesus fish, our God fish, bedamning
And bedamned. I will no longer examine

And reexamine the sins that doomed our fish.
I will not weep. My pain and fear are banished.
This is my last lamentation, my last wish:

Let my people’s famine become our Eucharist.

The Agricultural Report

Dear Banana, my son loves you green,
Unripe and slightly tough, or he won’t eat
A bite, but you taste too sour for me.

Dear Banana, my wife loves you degraded,
Bruised and black, but I think you’re tainted
With botulism. I taste death and danger.

Dear Banana, my family, my beloved bunch, can be such strangers.

Saturday Night Fever

Most folks remember the film for the florid dancing scenes,
John Travolta’s white suit, and the Bee Gees’ harmonies.
My young students think it is a musical comedy

Because the soundtrack resonates with old school disco.
But what about the rage, suicide, rape, and loss of hope?
The film teaches us that Americans become heroes

Only when they faithlessly escape their ancestral homes.

After Building the Lego Star Wars Ultimate Death Star

How many planets do you want to destroy?
Don’t worry, Daddy, this is just a big toy,
And there is nothing more fun than making noise.

My sons, when I was a boy, I threw dirt clods
And snow grenades stuffed with hidden rocks, and fought
Enemies—other Indian boys—who thought,

Like me, that joyful war turned us into gods.

Pow Wow Wow

Who’s the drum group? Northern Cree! Those rock star
Indians wear cowboy hats. Who’s that old man
Dancer? That’s Everybody’s Uncle! His scars

Have secret names. Damn, there are more RVs
Than teepees. Damn, there are so many white
Folks, but that ain’t wrong. We’ll let them dance,

Intertribally, to every seventh song.

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