Traverse des Sioux


Down by the Minnesota River
choked with fertilizer –
shallow brown water of
Traverse des Sioux.  It was here

the white man stole the territory
with treaty signed in smoke
(fake handshake, mock
friendship).  We didn’t mean it – sorry.

Eleven years later (1862)
starved, dispossessed
the scar broke open (led
by blue, reluctant Little Crow).

Extermination of the buffalo
echoed the reservation
camp.  To build a nation
all these savages must go.

The lightweight arc of birch canoe
is like an eyebrow (wingbone
frame, sutured to one
Rose Island – lamp of Manitou).

We’re limping back to Providence.
The whole grotesquerie
of violence & perfidy
to be forgone (washed in the silence

of the sea).  Down Mississippi way
you feel a salty shell wash
through fingers... an eyelash
leach one tear, slowly.  Hey ey.


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