Gettysburg, July 1947
With my good heels
and summer wools,
I am a conic slice among trapezoids
plunged in grass and lapidific ducktails
by cannon blast.
I am not in tears. Like the wild mint I lap
against the monuments, breeding, bridling
my green thoughts, my
I take shape. America, made for orphans:
now you are made for me. So: I hoist this death
as a bindle
of bleached flannel
and hit this black road where motherless Lincoln
stopped, his lackeys tripping in its cannon pocks.
In his silence
I see good sense.
Cemeteries are like zoos: they teach the art
of privacy behind their stamped gray placards.
as steel the at-
-home hours of dens, of the dead. The bear sleeps
or files its claws; it is not our business,
its lone curfew.
This side of that exquisite habitat, we
the visitors, and pigeons shitting freely,
uncaged. I am
I am Jackie Robinson, I am Huck Finn –
bastarded since my mother lay down with time.