The sun traverses
the sky’s arc over sunflowers and sage grasses below the Black Hills.
Today expands
the span past forty thousand days since white men’s blood fed the soil at Little Big Horn.

Day passes day.
Shame scatters whimpering songs between wind-carved sandstone buttes.
Day after day
this proud straight-haired imagineer wishes for an eagle bone flute worked by his father’s mother’s brother.

The sun sets.
Her shattered face is guilt on a cracked plate fallen from the wagon going west.
Fed up, he cast
it from the wagon. Deep in the Badlands he wanted to leap.

Pronghorn on the butte knows
his footing, strong in his legs and balls,
eternally mute, sure to earn
an accolade, he nudges the plate toward creatures who see him stare where his feet will land. 

Days pass
on the wind’s roar when sudden rains pelt the dust.
Rattlesnakes hide
in the caves where her voice vanished and the flute falls to the canyon floor.


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