Monarchs in hatbands:
Defeat deep in one's captured eyes.
Insouciance in the other's sweet.
Sitting Bull sees back forever, 1881,
downriver, liberty bad arrested,
last rifle surrendered,
earthly beauty and symbol of a
Monarch butterfly pinched from the air,
tucked for emblem, for camera, in hatband.
Old Walt, celebrated signifier at large, 'bout
same date, photographer's fool-de-rol, props
one of cardboard on forefinger, points a-
way. We don't do defeat in this culture.
We may do a cardboard
Monarch for the camera . . .
Defeat defeats us. In Sitting Bull's memory
and mind he rides all day in one direction
at liberty in open country. Without
Shooting Crows Again:
Time was, we lived odd
seasons on the prairie. Then
we witnessed first basque flower break
sod, and the cranes' high gyre.
Now I'm a townie, aint seen
a crocus in years, no more than hear
the cranes' weird croak way up.
Wind burns the snow and the snow
decomposes, the land so dry no melt
runs off. Shallow sloughs for waterfowl.
The crows are a good sight, back. I could
stand to be a crow, to make their play
in flight, to gang up in raucous confab, but for
the diet . . .
Cousin magpie succumbs to the new
virus in the land. Rancher
says he don't miss 'em. "Bastards
peck fresh cattle brands." I
miss them. I turn fifty-five
this spring, storm stayed. No
excuses, lots less of the map to follow
than retrace, fiddle-footed as ever,
a man of no rank come to a place without merit.
H E C A T O M B
Pressed Wafer | Brooklyn