Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Battle of Sioux River by Jeff Copenhagen

The Battle of Sioux River

there was a terrible battle

along the Sioux River years ago

blood ran all the way

to Lake Superior.

one hundred and fifty years later

blood still flows.

these pills will kill me

I know this

they go into an envelope

the word ''powerless'' written on it

given to a man who

asks no questions.

we sit in silence near Siskwit Lake

smoke and watch the water for

signs of life.

there are always signs of life

there are always questions

with no need of answers.

these women these women these women

it doesn't get any easier

I am halfway to fifty

ask a friend who is sixty

when does this stop

when do I get a moments' peace.

he laughs and tells me

you're on your own here brother.

a woman I love and I

have both danced with death.

we know the steps.

they say dance with the one who brought you.

I owe her one more dance

in the summer rain.

this pain, this sadness

all washed away.

step, turn, spin

look up to the sky

my dance card is full.

the bakery down the street

sells these overpriced sandwiches

I buy the turkey avocado

the woman behind the counter is

beautiful, full figured

does this thing with mascara and eye liner

I flirt with her

I don't need to be doing this

with a woman half my age

she doesn't need old bald men

to flirt with her.

neither of us needs this.

gluten free bakery is some serious business.

we both need this.

these are hard won battles.

the blood, if it is meant to

will keep flowing.

--Jeff Copenhagen/Little Way of the North 2011

No comments: