Cast from spit-stiffened clay, Jackson’s
manikin glints as we – Christians and
slave-owners, stovepipe hat
wearers – march West.
Old Hickory hard as a stippled cane.
We called him Chula Harjo – Sharp Knife – when he helped us stripe
the Creeks’ corpses
with our sharp knives, stripping
thigh skin for bridle reins,
red ears for gold coins.
when he whipped us, like he did the
Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw
to Nu na da ul tsun yi, the Place Where We Cried.
We few faded into Nantahala
Forest, eating bark, eluding Chula Harjo
until our ribs curved into the lustrous knife hasps
he grasped as he cut his bitter earth.
Celia Bland's new collection, Cherokee Road Kill, will be published by Dr. Cicero’s Books in 2017. Soft Box, her first book,
(CavanKerry) won ForeWord magazine’s Silver Medal, and Madonna Comix (William James f8 editions), a word &
image collaboration with artist Dianne Kornberg, was published in 2014 and was featured in Drunken Boat and exhibited widely.