Eleven Years Later [Toward Kristallnacht]
The American West hung for seventeen minutes before finally dying.
Swaying on the rope as they tenderly felt the pulse in his neck.
1903. Tom Horn had killed his last man for the ranchers, for Pinkerton’s.
For whoever paid. Under the death hood, the calm and wretched grin.
The fourteen year old boy crumpled after the bullet punctured
his father’s clothes. Before he pulled the trigger
Horn knew it was his target’s son.
Either death would keep the rustlers down. Mantra of the west
Eleven years later the sky fell
Stuck in a Cincinnati zoo, the last carrier pigeon.
1914. Last breast to breathe under feather.
29 years without a trip. Her ancestors filled the sky with sound
And shit, they’d broken tree limbs with their weight stopping for the night.
Hunters would watch the huge branches fall, then after the crash
Walk over with pellet-heavy guns and finish off what was still alive.
When the trees were cut down
There was not enough sky for them. Migratorius dropped like blue snow.
Eleven years later the dogs came across the ice and saved us
Trenches across the rictus of snow, 80 below, the lolling tongue, bared teeth
Blackened hands frostbitten from searching the snow for the lost package:
Diphtheria antitoxin in the musher’s pack. Six hundred and seventy four miles
To Nome. Twenty men. One hundred
And fifty sled dogs strove to save the town from extinction.
1925. Their lips pulled back in the canine grin. Running for love
And because they loved to run together. Over the broken Koyukuk,
Charlie Evans took the place of two of his dogs and pulled the sled.
Their frozen bodies secured with the serum. The Athabascan mushers’
Names lost in the snow. To the sound of propellers.
Eleven years later the first Olympic torch ran one kilometer
At a time toward the night of broken glass