Mother Of All Sweats
for smallfeather

It's the equinox
a lot of newbies in the lodge
maybe too many bodies for 40 rocks
because in the first round
a girl behind me starts to cry
and in the second round
Jack, a veteran of many sweats,
passes out.

Vincent tells Jack to sit up
and Jack sits up
but soon his head is in my lap.
Third round
a boy near the door asks to be let out
and the girl behind me, moaning now
says her body is numb.
She is shocked by this big Ute
spitting water in her face.

We're in the womb.
No one leaves prematurely.
Teetering at the edge of the pit
a man is talking to his selves.
The spirits are moving.
He's asking why he is here —
"Let me out of here, I can't take it."
Vincent has never seen such a thing
but he lets them out.

The Tibetans have a saying:
Until the head is cooked
of what use is the tongue?