Chilhowee Mountain
  • Chilhowee Mountain
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Bison Burgers and Fry Bread

  • Among my people, here again I am,
  • Preparing to be welcomed to the feast.
  • The “immigrant,” you’re undisturbed, at least,
  • Leaned back, as though you do not give a damn –
  • Before us, bison, sweet potato-yam,
  • And fry bread, not the bloated loaf of yeast
  • Which you would b e provided further east,
  • From family, with sauerkraut and ham.
  • Could I adore you any more? Black glasses
  • To screen your round, perceptive, Dresden eye,
  • At last, you try my fry bread, (no molasses),
  • Approving it with love – my German spy.
  • Our friendly, female Wolf Clan server passes.
  • You tip her, reverent as at Versailles.

From Chilhowee Mountain

  • When I look out from proud Chilhowee Mountain,
  • Upon a boulder balanced on the ground,
  • Subdued, I hear two crows call, with the sound
  • The rushing river utters like a fountain
  • Of voices lost and waiting, once more found.
  • I raise one hand to shade my eyes, no doubting
  • My deepest intuition, all around
  • Me nothing but the russet leaves and browned,
  • Snug fringe of my attire as I stand scouting
  • The landscape from nine hundred feet in air.
  • The boulder is a soul beneath me, shouting,
  • Reminding me of my ancestral birth
  • Around this mound they call Spearfinger’s lair.
  • No bond exists to rival ours, on Earth.


  • My reservation is a reservation
  • Where Red Paint gazes at his mobile phone –
  • A transcendental Indian, alone
  • Adorned in the full feather of our Nation;
  • While Wildcat emulates his isolation,
  • Around his throat, a choker made of bone—
  • Suspicious, steady, ready to disown
  • His flesh and blood, with no clear explanation.
  • Along Main Avenue, they greet the tourists
  • Who hold a honeymooning hand, and laugh,
  • Who claim, “We share your shame. We share your grief.”
  • But Wildcat and Red Paint – grim as jurists –
  • Arise, to pose for one more photograph,
  • And only their sad eyes show disbelief.

Jennifer Reeser is a poet, critic, and a translator of French and Russian literature. Her most recent book is a novel-in-verse, The Lalaurie Horror (Saint James Infirmary, 2013).

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