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!