On Red Arrow Highway
the cat’s leg is rigor mortised in a salute.
Children scramble on hands and knees
in the cemetery, chasing hot shells
that rain down from twenty-one guns.
The US Army chaplain holds a feather
and a knife wrapped in beaded leather.
He explains Memorial Day and the role
of warriors in his tribe and in America.
He prays to the Earth, the Great Spirit, and Jesus Christ.
At the table my father says,
They lost. The Indians. They should have
fought harder. They should quit whining.

I am holding a bone to my mouth.
I am licking and biting and sucking.
I am tossing it into a bowl with the others.
I could counter with a list of fighting things—
drones, democratically-elected leaders deposed
and replaced by dictators, assisted
ethnic cleansing, Fort Benning,
the glocks we buy for our daughters
to shoot on the ranges or at school.
We sit and chew ribs with salt and beer.
We separate spine from flesh.
We talk with bones in our mouths.
We talk with our mouths full of them
and what we say is dead and hollow.