#52 Recuerdos of Hostess Twinkies at Shalako Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico, Circa 1978 By Susan Nalder

Public radio announced the imminent demise
of the Hostess Twinkie today – memories surged
Blizzard bluffs turned raspberry pink,
Paintings by the sun on late afternoon snow
Coldest spot in America that early December day
No wind, just bright crispy bitter dry in the nose
When the Shalako came down from Greasy Hill
they crossed the field and came in thanks
for the harvest and rain and to bless certain homes
Turquoise icons – as tall as the houses
adorned by eagle feathers with a clacking beak
swayed and bobbed in ancient ritual dance
Their route was lined by a colorful crowd
Bundled and wrapped – sheepskins and Pendletons
Indians and Anglos, we all blew frost-breath
Ceremonial guardians chased transgressors
Whacking at heels with spiny yucca sticks –
Steamy hot fry-bread was wrapped in notes
from tribal elders,  purple-ink mimeograph
redolent of history and old boarding schools-
reminding the BIA school-teachers
like-it-or-not, in the weeks before Shalako
that children may slumber, be tardy or absent
from long hours preparing, ancient ceremonies
Mudheads danced before one porch
for some old ladies done up in pink-foam curlers
Right out loud, those Mudheads told everyone’s secrets
from the bedroom and the checkbook
for everyone to hear and howl or shrink in horror
Comanche impersonators danced on rooftops.
Elders in Shalako houses chanted prayers
Holy men recited creation stories
Spicy piñon smoke perfumed the air.
Red chili mutton stew warmed our stomachs
Frosty air painted my cheeks, by dawn
I was high on coffee and a Hostess Twinkie

Susan Nalder lives and writes in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a place she has called home since 1975.


4 thoughts on “#52 Recuerdos of Hostess Twinkies at Shalako Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico, Circa 1978 By Susan Nalder

  1. thank you all for your comments; it was a privilege to attend as a guest; everything about that ceremony celebration is still as crisp in my mind as the air that night

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