It was the summer of the Battle of Little Bighorn.
My brother and I stood on the last stand hill beneath
the shredded prairie sky. We watched the green
fuses of fireflies swell and burn above the sea of
buffalo grass that had swallowed so many soldiers
leaving nothing but bones, dust and echoes.
Through the smoke of my mother’s cigarette I
could see my brother’s pale-faced sadness reflecting
from the blade of his rattling saber. The smell of
sorrow was rising with the moon; counting the dead
among the broken arrows was futile as the ghosts
were already haunting the books of history.
Who were we to live among the birds which wing
this region? Our feathers hadn’t even come in and
it was nearly time to return home. We lived in the
temper of our blown youth and got lost somewhere
between the hatch and disclose. We forged a
crooked path through a savage garden only to fall.
The front lines and the front yards are where the
battles of boys are fought. The everyday last stands
and shipwrecks among gods or ghosts. In the end,
it’s the fatigue of too many false charges and battle
calls that bury us. Beautiful boys and brothers who
fade from front lawns to become the lost echoes of
summers past and lifetimes ago.