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Chains and Links

By Laura Da'

I do desire—Chillicothe, Piqua, Lima
that you remain—Shawnee, Lawrence, Olathe

Wyandotte, Tecumseh—on the other side
Junction City, Fort Leavenworth, Lenexa—

of the river. Species shame goes to earth
at the piedmont. 1844’s flooding of the Kaw:

long rains chased by dry and hot weather,
coupled with the smallpox, cholera, and typhus

trailed by settlers. Buckskins, bucks
becoming frontier currency.

At the fall line where ships unload and lighten;
fever, chills, bloody flux. Let the record state

in that year, that there was not
a single well person in that nation.




Listen as Laura Da' reads "Chains and Links."

Added: Monday, July 29, 2019  /  From "Instruments of the True Measure," (University of Arizona Press, 2018). Used with permission.
Laura Da’
Photo by Kathee Statler.

Laura Da’ is a poet, teacher, and author of Instruments of the True Measure. A lifetime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Da’ studied creative writing at the University of Washington and The Institute of American Indian Arts. Da’ is Eastern Shawnee. Her first book, Tributaries, won the American Book Award. Da’ lives near Seattle with her husband and son.

Other poems by this author