Apprecation Friday: Poet Maurice Kenny: In Memoriam | Dawnland Voices
Evicted into the frozen teeth of winter
by the landlords of the plains;
cast into the bloody waters of the Washita
where your father’s corpse flowed in the stream . . .
his manhood stuffed into his mouth,
his scalp made guidon for Custer’s soldiers.
Torn from the band of helpless captive women,
a suckling child, mewing and puking in your arms;
driven by Long Hair to feel out the ashes of the village,
scout out the vital hearts of your people.
Did Sheridan’s eyes admire the loveliness
of your young Cheyenne cheeks?
Did Custer claim you like a trophy until
his civil wife pulled his sweaty thighs
from the Cheyenne Mystery of your life?!
You held your childish hands to your womb
and felt the kickings of a bird, the fledgling seed
planted like so much corn by Yellow-locked Long Hair!
Where did you find the love to mount his cot, knifeless,
or did he find your flesh upon his earthen floor?!
Custer strutted your grave to glory, foolish girl.
Now in the winds of the Washita Valley cottonwoods cry
for the slain Cheyenne. No winds moan in the leaves
for the head-strong girl, daughter of Little Rock,
who followed the pony soldiers.
How do I answer?
Do I call, hey you half breed, white man
with blue eyes, you half red man standing
within your breech clout?
You ask why
did I not take my knife and rush it
into his belly allowing his enemy blood
to river into my people's Oklahoma earth.
He called me to his bed.
His tent would be my sacrificial altar.
His body become my demise once my face
had been softly stroked by his hand . . . cold,
clammy; his body. I was his war treasure,
a hunk of gold, a pot of flesh. There was no escape.
In fact his man took my knife and slit an open
run of blood on my arm . . . just to warn
that I had better smile and be content.
Maurice Kenny: In Memoriam | Dawnland Voices
There are some people who I am glad came to this world and left us their words good words great words, words like this... LT