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By Karen Wolf


flashes, smoke

clouds, head slamming

commotion, bark

chips---Tecumseh fears bad

medicine of British rolling

guns blasting Fort

Meigs. A council

fire flushes wanning

warrior faces. The missing pulled from

sacred ground. Those

drinking from Tecumseh’s

fountain, certain to

retain their father’s

lands. Days of red

coat cannons kill the few hid

underground. Night

floats across the Maumee: axes

and shovels, proud

voices, twang

of a jew’s-harp, scream

from surgeon’s tent. Aboard

his black stallion he

circles the blockaded

fort. The fortified

general’s broken promises sail across knee

high cornfields thriving

on stolen soil; his

resolve strengthens. Reinforcements paddle

downriver, sun flickers on blue

coat buttons--they drive

out artillery, overrun

batteries. Warriors

nip at boot heels, drive

down a ravine to point

blank Shawnee guns, arrows, war

clubs. Musket fire, shouts,

thuds, clatter of parrying

weapons, groans, screams--last

heard by the dying.

His blood-soaked hands drip

shame at the carnage and

echo his mother’s refrain:

You should have

stayed out of our land.


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