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Poetry

Overflow

Curtis L. Crisler

The golden bell of the trumpet
punched Cs above scale into cold
and windy graveyard air.  Dresses
of women blew rayon ripples to
an east.  Bare legs surfaced chill
bumps, longing for the warmth of
a bed where room’s heat whistles
and rumbles—a grumbling ghost. 
“Taps” sliced through his Native
American ears, a knife so sharp
when cutting, the pain of the blood
does not recognize its own hand in
the deed.  A strong lonely lodges
into his belly, and he cannot see sky. 
Life left him within his own mind,
never knowing his white father who
garnered ceremonial garb, put into
a plot under the great arm of idyllic
birch.  His mother wore a lazy smile,
sat next to a deluxe casket.  Soldiers
handed her triangle flag—a flag that
belongs to so many dead and living
hands.  Rumble.  It all rumbled. 
Tears gathered—he blamed wind. 
No.  It was “Taps.”  It always stuck
raw in his throat for all those feral
young boys who never got a chance
to seed more feral boys.  He knew
the trumpet was a malicious home-
wrecker, who called The Duke—
a Calvary on his ancestors—a hot
lover Louis Armstrong loved all of
his existence, fighting to grow music
out of tragedy.  But how does son
solve puzzle of being Army, Apache,
German—living on rez?  It burns to
not wipe eyes, a wet fighting down
his cheeks.  The crowd believed he’s
moved by taut mother’s face, by the
sharpness of wind striking red skin,
shaking off killer throbs, but blinded
between ancestors and government,
his haze washed-out to widest cobalt
he could never tame, or at all handle.

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