The Happy Place
(Geronimo to Barrett about Noche-ay-del-Klinne, Fort Sill, I.T., 1905) With sand-wind flapping the wickiup's canvas, San Carlos, he told me how he'd died on the battlefield and seen the Happy Place: that narrow cañon opening on a day glowing without sun that those near death returned claim and hold as touch. He told me how he subdued, by simply showing no fear, rattlers, grizzlies, and lions until he reached the green valley—and found the game more plentiful than before White Eyes, and his beloved, more radiant than in life, sang only round songs. Many believed him, and I can’t say that he didn’t tell the truth—but he’d never held a dead son, felt the body's stone doll, its eyes opening a cave in the chest that won’t close with age or steps. I told him I couldn't recall what I'd seen while knocked cold on the battlefield, but perhaps it's well we’re not certain. Neither blade holds an edge.
Reprinted by permission of Louisiana State University Press from The Happy Place by Rawdon Tomlinson. Copyright © 2007 by Rawdon Tomlinson.