21 April 2010 | Vol. 10, No. 1
The Battle of Horseshoe Bend
I was going to write a poem about giving birth,
about meconium and vernix,
the cubic zirconium
scattered on the floor tiles of the hospital room.
It would have been about false
windows that face false
the tiny hamburger—the mustard too yellow and sweet—the flushed
cheek of labor, how hard it is
to piss afterwards, how hard it is just to walk
to the bathroom. Not that ward. Not that one.
And it was going to be about my son, the military history of America.
That it would have erased
all mothers is of no
consequence. That it would have fought
for the common defense
is of no consequence. That it would embrace the cyclonic energy of
Andrew Jackson would have only been a byproduct.
Instead, it will be about some Choctaw Indians
some Jews, about government cheese, debt, rent, the way
steam curls off the Georgia swamp on my way
to work at 6am, where the egret transfixes the grass,
the chocolate dark pines of the New World.
That it would have had to murder the landowner
in the name of personal property, resign before it
takes office, retract its oath, X out
its flight path like a bird of prey.
There is no
Poem of trading posts, missions, forts
garden plots, the Pebble Hill Plantation
where you can pretend to be a pilgrim
or an Indian, a landowner or a slave.
Poem that will never exist.