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

walls, about

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.

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For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Sandra Simonds at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 10, No. 1, where "The Battle of Horseshoe Bend" ran on April 21, 2010. List other work with these same labels: poetry.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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