Weight Bearing

Goedicke, Patricia

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Donley, Carol
  • Date of entry: May-12-2006
  • Last revised: Dec-01-2006


A Kiowa Native-American, so obese he looks "like a grand piano in soft sculpture," visits the narrator's office. The Kiowa is a teacher and lover of words, but back home on the reservation, the old sources of inspiration are gone--"the old stories disappear"--and he knows "at the center of himself he is starving." (The obesity comes from this desperate need for feeding!) The narrator, who is probably a writer and teacher herself cannot help him.


The obese Native-American seems to be eating compulsively to overcome the starvation he feels as the nurturing roots of his tribe die out-- "the river is beginning to dry up." His parents are in a nursing home. "Out there on the mesa he is a lone cottonwood / muttering to itself in the wind."

He is also trying to communicate--perhaps a poet himself--but "who has time nowadays to listen?" As the poem closes, the narrator knows "there is no comforting the dry purplish lips that shape words out of the air like waterless clouds, scouring the land for sustenance."

Primary Source

Paul Bunyan's Bearskin



Place Published

Minneapolis, Minn.