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Diane Glancy

That Was Never There Before

Let us cut the end out of the book
And take it hide it now for when we most need
A Book Cut and Left in the Forest, Judith Hall

They rode with their little swords,
their little buglers at their side—
Custer, Chivington,
the seventh cavalry
who showed us the Maker’s new road.

They were ground hog, otter, bear,
a hornet-net of devil fish and spirits on painted horses.

We were turtles hatched in sand
struggling our way to the water
who longed to put our fiery tongues to cool.

How long O Lord how long?—
the unavenged asked with them under the stones—
From now on out until the end—
was answered by a man who said to those on fire
that he was fire
and only those who tasted smoke could see.

The pale green horse was on its way—
The figs would scatter before his feet
from east, south, west, north, sky and earth
in the six directions.

Another crop had come and would be plowed under
for another crop that was at first
and in the folds the new world unfolded
in which the Maker let himself be known
though not all would know
or even those that brought the message.

Technology was the new wheel
of the messianic craze.
It is here I stand beside my washing machine
where the Maker and his redeemer man.



The Train Tracks

The railroad tracks ran beside the Carlisle Indian Industrial School—
the sound of the trains called us back—
They were of themselves nothing resting on cross ties.
But they were the tracks for train wheels grooved to roll along the rails.
It takes two of them, helpless, standing side by side—
They shone in the moonlight.
They spoke before a train came.
The iron for the tracks was brought from underground—
melted and shaped as we were shaped—
It was desolation at Carlisle— those long shapes—
their skinny spines rolled over by trains
bringing us by rail to the furnace to be heated into shapes we never were—
to lie side by side— stiff— unmoving— to transport our hearts away.