Pay Up or Else by Luci Tapahonso

Vincent Watchman was shot
in the head February 12
because he owed 97c at
a Thriftway gas station.
While he lay dead,
the anglo gas boy said
I only meant to shoot out
his car tires and scare him.
He fired 2 poor shots – one in the head,
one in the rear window and
the police cited him for
shooting a firearm within city limits.

Meanwhile, Thriftway officials in Farmington
expressed shock
It’s not company policy, after all,
to shoot Navajo customers who run
overflows in the self-serve pumps.
This man will definitely be fired.

There is no way that such an action
can be justified, the official said

while we realized our lives weren’t worth a dollar
and a 24-year-old Ganado man never used
the $3 worth of gas he paid for.


Date: 1981

By: Luci Tapahonso (1953- )

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