"The Menu" by Adrian C. Louis

Adrian C. Louis

Adrian C. Louis

Adrian C. Louis grew up in Nevada and is an enrolled member of the Lovelock Paiute Tribe. From 1984-97, Louis taught at Oglala Lakota College on the Pine Ridge Reservation. He recently retired as Professor of English at Southwest Minnesota State.  Pleiades Press published his latest poems, Random Exorcisms, in 2016. 

The Menu

Sioux Falls — Death row inmate Elijah Page chose steak and salad for his last meal, which was served about 4:50 p.m. CST.  The menu consisted of steak with A1 Steak Sauce, jalapeno poppers with cream sauce, onion rings, salad with cherry tomatoes, ham chunks, shredded cheese, bacon bits, ranch and bleu cheese dressing, lemon iced tea, coffee and ice cream. Page, who confessed to murdering Chester Allan Poage near Spearfish in 2000, is scheduled to die at 10 p.m. CDT tonight.
     Rapid City Journal, 7-11-07

Iced tea & ice cream.
Ham chunks & bacon bits.
We are a mundane people
living upon mundane plains.
We dine upon the mundane
& forget to pray for our
sad-ass, mundane selves.

Nevertheless, last year there 
were 2.75 million cattle lurking 
upon South Dakota dirt & they
give this poor slob a slab that
he has to slather with A-1.

It is not yet tomato season,
cherry or otherwise, but 
cherry tomatoes & death?
A combo beyond poetry &
Id bet my left nut that his 
bleu cheese dressing came 
from a plastic squeeze bottle.
Everything else seems duly 
clogged with bad cholesterol,
but all in all, the menu makes
me very, very hungry for
the blood of the dead & 
if it were my last meal
I suppose I would relish it.



Colleen, my love,
I do not recall what I ate
on the day of our death.

I would like to think that 
what I ate the day you died 
was cold, greasy & perfunctory,
but I really cannot remember.
I suppose our histories matter 
only to us for a short while 
& then they matter to no one.

Last week I got a honeydew
melon that was sour inside.
I threw the two halves into
the backyard for the birds.
Between peck & shrivel, all
hints of green soon vanished.
Thin, brown skins left with 
a broom wind that brought
strong thunder & weak rain.
When it thundered last night, 
it sounded exactly like huge, 
human farts.  Exactly
A result of global warming?
I may be close to the edge.

Driving to Starbucks today,
I passed an old duo in a Buick.
Woman was yapping at man 
just like a Chihuahua would & 
I know man was thinking of
A-1 on his steak reward for
tolerating the years of peck
& shrivel, the strong thunder
of her voice, the weak
rain of his aging groin.



Menu: One year memorial.  
Slim Buttes, SD. August 12, 2007.
I'm early & lay claim to a plastic
chair close to the grill & prairie wind 
wind whips charcoal smoke directly 
into my thrashing brain & the scene
turns slow & I don't know why 
your family always chars burgers 
black & within a half hour Im so
stoned on briquettes & Pepsi that 
my loving fear of ghosts dissipates. 
When I leave at dusk, I move
slowly, dryly like a walking
piece of withered jerky.