Tatanka Oyate

By: Maya Bailey-Clark

Simmons College, Massachusetts, USA

Inspired by the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, written in response to the following video: 


These animals heard blood rolling under the earth.
They came in wide swaths across the plains,
Great Buffalo with heads bent and hirsute
called to that spot in dreams,
a shadow passing through the canvas of the tent.

Thousands stopped to listen to the rumble of them,
to yip from the tops of trucks while the pump of bullets
popping rubber against skin made maps of their ribs,
dark purple budding in wide circles above cartilage.

Over here, the grasses turn brown and then black with
soot from the flames that sleep in the blades of them.
I see a woman pacing with her child at her breast,
his mouth open wide to the aftertaste of sacrifice.