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Arapaho Surrender

by Pandora Dixon

The circle drawn in a darkened cell.
You stare through shaman nowhere: eyes flat black
like scorched ground.   No more magic on the plains,
The grass has dried and withered to pavement.
You ride the last horse standing

on a cheap, splintered chair.  Perched,
arms out, you wobble like a flightless bird;
pink feathers glued to a trinket headdress.
You are hollow; empty fingers tie
the knot.    The rope dangles, a shadow lasso

on the wall.   Ghostly wheel turning,
rolling towards the finish.   Your end,
merely a formality.  You were born
in a graveyard.   Baptized in whiskey
and tobacco spit.   To leave must

be to leave alone-blood drained
and pale.    A corpse has no choice but
finally to lie still.    You cinch the leather
cord and kick, suddenly alive, twisting
in a brittle dance.     Colors like warpaint

streak your face.  A vision of flint passion
calls you.   The ancient voice clings, infant
cry at birth.    An aborted warrior.