Composed (in germ form) at the Little Bighorn Battlefield…
Custer always gets called a nasty
Cuss; Sure, he shouldn’t have done what he
Did, but then, that covers most of us.
It remains a shame that he had to
Die in such a manner, at least in my mind.
Tactic, strategy, and history aside, it was tragic.
He must have been brave at his last stand:
It was his to be so — then, there,
For however long it was given him.
Shortly besieged behind breastworks of dead horses
The remnant watched the yellow gorse wax orange,
The salt of death welling in their mouths.
The Allied Nations — Lakota, Cheyenne, Sioux.
They, too, were brave, sealing their fate,
Their diminution, with their victory here.
A bit of parallax, really:
Here, on this knoll, they routed their foes.
A sacrifice, not a triumph.
As Sitting Bull’s retainers stormed this hill,
Each one a furious tornado,
I wonder if, at the last, the crushed sage
Beneath their feet overpowered
The carbine-smoke and powder.
It would have been a better smell to die to.