Monday, April 4, 2016

Coup Counts --- for Chief Joe Medicine Crow

a single yellow feather 
beneath his Army helmet
a Crow behind Nazi lines 
counted coup on the enemy
sent hooves of fifty German horses
pounding off into the night

one hundred and three winters wise

a great uncle, White Man Runs Him, who witnessed the chaos 
people bathing in the Little Big Horn
then the cry of battle 
women and children fleeing north
the camp beset with terror
history books forever distorted 

they would stand for no more
the last of the great chiefs
made and killed, made and killed

now we are told again
the last of the great Chiefs are dead
as if the battle is finally over
and coup no longer counts

but let Chief Medicine Crow
take his long walk
let his words live
and know there is a young
Crow warrior somewhere
perhaps a great nephew 
who will sneak into our enemy's camp
and steal their horses

teach us all again
what it means to be a chief

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