Sunday, March 15, 2009


Black Shawl Remembers Crazy Horse

The old ones like to say
memory is like riding a trail
at night with a lighted torch.

And so it does not surprise me
that your face has been swallowed
by darkness, your voice black as
the wounded wings of a crow.

But sometimes the torch flares,
illuminating the way your body
folded itself against mine,
how the last time you loved me
you dipped your thumb in red paint
and covered the part in my hair,
marking me a woman greatly loved.

When the rattlesnake came into
the lodge, you could not crush it.
And you couldn’t save our daughter
from the white man’s coughing disease.
In the end, the Black Hills were lost, too -
the heart of everything that is.

I wasn’t your only wife. But I am
the one who remembers. I whisper
your name and it drifts as snow
across the prairie, then melts
and is gone.

- Irene Latham

This one is another from the new anthology. I wrote it after visiting the Crazy Horse monument, then reading a few books. I loved South Dakota so much that we are going back this summer. And my father is meeting us there. Can't wait!


  1. Great poem ...great story within it. Have fun this summer in South Dakota.

  2. Awesome ... love the covering of her part.

    Anna g.

  3. Sensuous, beautiful and heartfelt. And spiritual. Those are all the things that I feel when I read this wonderful poem. Watching the way that your writing is evolving is very interesting. Do I see an adult-lit(not as in The Bachelor hot tub scenes "adult", but you know what I mean!) book on the horizon? I cannot wait to see Gee's Bend in book form!

    I am so glad that you will be going on another adventure with your Father this summer! How is he fairing? My Dad is stable at the moment, but I still worry because they can't seem to regulate his thyroid. I just don't know what I would do without him. He is my hero in so many ways.

    Love you, friend,

  4. This is just beautiful, Irene. South Dakota is on my wish list of places to visit. Thanks for sharing.

  5. So fun and interesting. I find poetry totally daunting but you are making me more apt to read it. Love the cover of the book too.


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