Slowly I walked through the museum,

Admiring the Indian artifacts on display,

When my attention was diverted

By a tall man on the other side

Of the glass enclosure.

He wore a faded Stetson hat

And a brown suede shirt

With fringed sleeves,

And green eyes peered out

From under the brim of the hat.

He glanced at me

and I at him

and we both looked down

At a beaded Indian belt on display.

I knew instinctively that

The belt meant something

to both of us;

a tie, a connection, to the past.

But he turned away and

So did I,

Without speaking or

acknowledging each other.

It was an unspoken exchange.

I never saw him again.

When I looked up, again,

He was gone and

As if he had never been inside

The room.

I returned to the museum twice

Before the exhibit closed.

Each time

I stared at the intricately beaded

Indian belt

and wondered what it meant,

And who was the cowboy

in the Stetson hat?

*Sandy’s note: I was a member of the Western Heritage Museum in Burbank, California, for a number of years before moving to the Antelope Valley in the high desert, and I found it difficult to continue my membership. There were so many wonderful exhibits–the museum was a gift to Southern California from actor Gene Autry. Whenever I had out of town visitors I would take them to the museum–everyone loved it. A number of my poems were inspiration from visiting the Western Heritage Museum

Sandra Lee Smith

January, 2009

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