On the Backs of American Bison

Some dreams come ill, a bad kidney or two
maybe three. But no crow mourns for lost feathers.

A magpie might. Black and white and able to recognize its own reflection.
Black-billed Narcissus. Vain bird that you are.

Sensitive corvid. My mother used to call me a magpie.
In her poems, I was left for days in a bundle,

when my parents returned, they learned I had flown away
to the back of a nearby bison. What’s more American?

Here, the food was plentiful until they killed all the bison.
I had to find a new home, build a nest in riparian woodland.

With the wolves sitting around me, I told them my life.
They regurgitated new stories for me to dream.

While they weren’t looking, I’d steal their food
I’m a sensitive corvid after all. We have to survive somehow.

Copyright © 2020 b: william bearheart. This poem originally appeared in Waxwing. Reprinted with the permission of Carrie Bearheart.