Published on Academy of American Poets (

I Cast It Away, My Body:

after Georgia O’Keeffe’s First Drawing of Blue Lines, 1916

Because two brothers make a body where none existed
God drew two bodies as one went crooked

There is a war between us. And I am losing
My brother, fabulous night panther & copper-horned

Struck by lightning, electric blue: two lines
My father pulls two ribs and one snaps into angles
In the waiting room, a body begins to fold in on itself
A body begins to pull a breathing tube from out of itself

There is a war between us. And I am losing
My brother, all copper feathers and dragon tail, chosen

In the mud of a battlefield, you’ll find my heart
Buried in the soft red clay, my body

Broke and anchored to this earth, a bolt
Jettisoned, my brother is my father’s first son


Copyright © 2016 b: william bearheart. This poem originally appeared in Boston Review. Reprinted with the permission of Carrie Bearheart.

About this Poem

“The title is taken from an Ojibwe war poem.”
b: william bearheart


b: william bearhart

b: william bearhart is a direct descendent of the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin. A graduate of the Lo-Rez MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, bearhart’s work appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including When the Light of the World was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through (W. W. Norton, 2020).

Date Published: 2016-07-20

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