by Carol Bachofner
Old Pima came down with the wandering sickness. It edged in when he was digging for water out back. Took over, settled into his heart for four years, stayed until the man’s grandson came home from college. Ira Hayes wandered into Iwo Jima, got it raising a flag that didn’t recognize him. That’s how it gets in sometimes. Comes and goes. There is no warning. Ira Hayes was a hero, then he wandered into a ditch and drowned in 6 inches of water. Old Pima puts a walking stick by the entrance to his house. In case it comes back. He wears a dream catcher on his shirt now. He heard from an elder that the sickness comes from crazy dreams getting in through the chest. He hasn’t slept in his bed since Old Woman walked away. Grandson builds a fence to keep it out. Granddaughter cooks outside to confuse it, make it think there’s no house at all. Old Pima smudges. Heya, heya, heya –hey. Linda Little Dog stopped singing and wandered off after breakfast. She might be gone an hour. A week. She might be under the road. Old Pima notices his walking stick wandered off at about the same time. It was half haunted.