Naming the Dragon:

Poems, Stories, Commentary

by Charles Bickenheuser, EdD

Painting by Michael Godfrey, “Morning on Sleeping Indian”

NAM LEAR

The day John died 

We carried him 

Down the mountain, 

Away from the fighting.

We stopped at

The edge of a clearing,

Checked his dressing 

And listened for the 

Sounds of men 

With tracking dogs. 

And in that silence

He was gone. 

__________________

AND IF IN WINTER

And if in winter,

In the still and quiet 

Snows, you found yourself

Paused in a moment where

You gave up wrong

And held to the pure 

Touch of a loving god—

Then would you be called

Blessed

__________________

GULU

Where gazelle graze,

Shots at six hundred meters

Are not uncommon.

At that distance a man

Crumples unheard

Like a dry leaf.

__________________

RAIN FOR A WEEK

Spring 2006,

Rain for a week.

The grass needs 

Cutting. Roses

In first bloom 

Tumble to

The ground. Red 

And green in layers 

Of green. 

Just now, 

Thirty-five

Years ago, 

My team quiet, 

Hidden, waiting 

In the moment.

___________________

DAK TO

The round went through the Center of his chest and he fell backwards, arms out, chin down, Like a swimmer

Diving into deep waters.

_____________________

TELL ME

The juice of the tomato is blood red. As one learns to distinguish

Life from death, red from red—

Which red, in which time,

Means nourishment or death?

____________________


BATTLE

In the morning 

I recall my soul

From the dense green 

Of the clearing

Where so many men died 

Falling  in red plumes 

Of blood.

____________________

Naming the Dragon: Poems, Stories, Commentary

Charles Bickenheuser, EdD         ©2020 All rights reserved            About Montana, LLC