Headless, beneath concrete and stone pyramid,|
eagle stretching above assembled bones, you do not rest.
Across the prarie, riding in a Model-T,
your headless soul still searches for your skull.
At the Apache Casino and Smoke Shop
tourists buy photographs with your head
firmly between your shoulders. Postcards
sail, from eyes to eyes, wearing your grim face.
Cursing Custer, Buffalo Soldiers pursued you:
freed from slavery they enslaved you
to these white-male dreams; bodiless
paradoxes surround your head's glass tomb.
Sins of sons and fathers insult your honour;
whispered crimes and future conspiracies
demand exposure, but trapped in tortured silence
you suffer their depravities and degradations.
At the stone temple of The Brotherhood of Death,
the Nations, who fear no evil, will gather.
Placing tobacco and feathers at evil's door,
they will drum until the walls come down.
Wrapping you in a sacred bundle,
the Nations will carry you back to Fort Sill.
Placing tobacco and feathers at your grave,
they will drum until the body is whole,
until the hoop's restoration
until the corpse has risen
until seven generations feel secure.
· · · · · ·
Poetry on Swans
Gerard Donnelly Smith, a poet and musician, teaches creative writing, literature and composition at Clark College in Vancouver WA. CERRO de la ESTRELLA (Logan Elm Press, 1992) was chosen for The Governor's Award for the Arts in Ohio, 1992. Excerpts from THE AMERICAN CORPSE (10 poems) were published in Apex of the M in 1995. He is the current director of the Columbia Writers Series, an Honorary Board Member of The Mountain Writers Series, and co-advisor of the Native American Student Council at Clark College. He has also organized readings for Poets Against the War.
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