Fall 2010 / Issues / Poetry 2010 / Volume 41

Cahokia — Hannah Craig

This was a temple—now a room only a god could fill, no walls, no ceiling. Or this might

have been a house. Now a diorama with stick figures in toothpick canoes, two inch bear

and cat, a priest in miniscule mask. Or this was a water tower. Or this was a lookout post.

What’s vacillation to the stoat, underground, sucking at the egg of time?

You can’t climb on the archaeological evidence. You can’t guess what it means that they

found the bones of fifty young women, five beheaded boys, behind the auto plants of

Ohio. We like to think we could have been kings. We would have been the sacrifice, the

doped and earnest girls going swingingly by on bare feet.

Here’s the real lesson to be learned. You can eat dirt if you have to, if you’re really

hungry. You can humiliate yourself with the truth. You can open the hinge of earth to

extract bone or oil, you can take off the top of a mountain to build a Piggly Wiggly. You

can mow the grass on the sacred mound; it doesn’t change anything at all. It’s only a

matter of going up, after all, in order to go out to one another.

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