In Shawnee cosmology,
a shooting star can fall to earth as a mythical panther.
phonetic approximation of an Algonquian name:
One Who Waits,
The first cultural event in
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In Westport the small French cart
of the voyageurs earned the name mule-killer.
Once Shawnee was the lingua franca
up and down the Mississippi,
then mollassi became molasses.
For the bringing of the horse
it is said much can be forgiven: burn
of Missouri whiskey and aching molars,
lunatic fevers of cholera,
even those men
born astride. Rare beast to share
that weight on such fine and slender legs.
Laura Da’ is the author of Instruments of the True Measure, which is forthcoming from the University of Arizona Press in 2018, and Tributaries (University of Arizona Press, 2015). She lives near Seattle, Washington.