Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Song: The Eagle and the Seventh

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Song: The Eagle and the Seventh

Article excerpt

I am one, and I soar in sharp, cold air that sings like knives in flight.

My path is undivided through the high white cirrus, an unbroken circle

That spans the angled crags and the horizon of the dun dusk sea

And back again. I exult over the prairies and the prairie dwellers.

They worship me, and wear my feathers, and give thanks.

I respect them and see myself among their ranks.

Chorus:

The Little Bighorn River twists as if a question mark

Inquiring into the riddle of Custer

Of how ambition can embrace such light and yet such dark:

A soul dispersed beyond all hope of muster.

As I descend, the tepees rise above the plain like clustered arrowheads,

The prairie teeming as if black ant riddled pinewood.

The Sioux and the Cheyenne, the soldiers of the Seventh Regiment -

They shift and realign but are at present indistinguishable.

Yet one dark patch is splitting into three, a "Y"

The Crows have given their report: Custer will die.

I wonder if the general observed me perch on his besieged knoll.

His red tie seemed a flag of blood as the Lakota quirts lashed

Into the panic and black arrows porcupined the horses,

Snapping their hobbled leg bones rather than advance. …

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