Obsidian Flake Curse

We whom you
called Indians once walked
these foothills of your fair
Sierra. If the granite
dirt shifts
beneath your footfall
like an echo on this path
where fallen pine knots still
and always lie
like friendly torches
for the night, unlit,
don't be afraid. The last
black bears are gone
from here, the survivors
have made their treaty
with garbage and antibiotics,
we cannot use
their eyes. The mana we lodged
in the burial mounds
is almost exhausted
by catalogues, soon all
you will find of us will be
scattered obsidian flakes
in the bulldozer scars, too small
for a necklace or trophy.
And though red flame struggle
this late awake with the black
after century shock, crashing
like desperate few salmon
against concrete walls
upward in search
of the lost currents of freedom,
we will not reclaim
this land that we never
owned: our late sons
will be barren in breech-clouts
modeled for novelty fashion
and aspire to breed test-tubes
of far descendents
of smallpox, for trial
closer to India. The path
is yours, soon only the earth
herself will remain, spinning
beneath your foot
in troubled life, as you wander
for once without arms
and receptive, hunting
the balance lost,
while the raw planet oxides
and dark air of your pride
gather to suffocate the moon.


                                        13 April 69