Vox Populi: A Public Sphere for Politics and Poetry
“My real name or Dakota name is Tate Wicuwa, Wind That Chases the Sun.” — Leonard Peltier
You bring into his cell Crazy Horse’s white Appaloosa.
He lowers his head to get in, he allows himself to be brought in, his
electric body to be held at the mouth. His back
flickers like a bad connection, like coming to flames
but his four hooves tap dance the cement. He allows you
to unbraid his mane, to brush out with your fingers his beads
to lay in the hollow between his nipples.
There is so much terror you may not breathe again.
He is Eros who cannot be ridden to some clear light
but must be mounted here in this pit. Only here.
His smell fills it. Their eyes
watch you. Every one of his heartbeats
all these years against the cage
You sow the seed of the native tall prairie grass
into the steel. Your tears are enough water.
His hand reaches for your right breast, the other pulls you down
under the horse where you are unseen by the monitor.
You pull back, wash with the tears his heavy feet
and the dark wave of hair across his forehead when he was young
and the wave back from his large forehead now like your father’s.
The grass stems elongate over you. The crickets scrape
their legs together, scrape together the majesty, your body
down on his like the sun setting over the world, the wind
chasing you. Your bodies
over each other like the skins of the Indians
the pioneers bound their Bibles with
the living flesh
still in their prison museums.
Copyright 2008 Sharon Doubiago. From Love on the Streets: Selected and New Poems by Sharon Doubiago. University of Pittsburgh Press. Reprinted with permission of the author.