Gutting yellow perch at the sink,
her smile came from another age.
She had enough soul
for me, for fish, for a lineage
of creatures back to bison times.
For men who once came to her homestead door
asking Where have the woolly creatures gone?
When will they come back? What have you whites
done to them?
Now we must wear the Ghost Shirt
to force their return.
Her skin and eyes as dark as theirs,
like them at the mercy of greed, drought
or lightning fire.
She gave me the perch heads and tails
for my prairie skeleton “museum”.
Smiling as I buried them for later scientific study.
Still smiling, who had seen it all. Had seen enough.