Driving back from the reservation, I cross a small bridge into Saint Paul. I feel the troubled waters. I think of my grandfather’s people,the Dakota. I think of how they lived by the water, how they made fire by the water. I think of how my people, the Dakota, my family,were taken to Fort Snelling prison. I think of Many Lightnings and his sons, my family, every time I come back to Saint Paul and see the “Historic Site” sign. I think of how the Thirty-Eight sang their prayer and death songs on the gallows. I think of how my family watched their people hang all together.
I try to see this but the red and green lights distract me. I try to hear them but tires screeching and horns honking distract me. All I have are signs, another “Fort Snelling Historic Site” ahead. All I have is dirty water under a bridge. I don’t have their voices. I don’t have their words. So I drive into Saint Paul and park my car and walk amongst the cold leaves to my apartment building. I manage a small token of smoke and silence.