Ȟe Sápa, Four
is the small way to begin.
But I could not.
As I am limited to few
words at command, such as wanblí. This
was how I wanted to begin, with the little
But could not.
Because this wanblí, this eagle
of my imagining is not spotted, bald,
nor even a nest-eagle. It is gold,
though by definition, not ever the great Golden Eagle.
Much as the gold, by no mistake, is not ground-gold,
man-gold or nugget. But here, it is
the gold of light and wing together.
Wings that do not close, but in expanse
angle up so slightly; plunge with muscle
and stout head somewhere between
my uncle, son, father, brother.
But I failed to begin there, with this
expanse. Much as I failed to start
with the great point in question.
There in muscle in high inner flight always
in the plunge we fear for the falling, we buckle to wonder:
What man is expendable?
From WHEREAS. Copyright © 2017 by Layli Long Soldier. Used by permission of The Permissions Company, Inc. on behalf of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, www.graywolfpress.org.