Girl and Buffalo

Diane Glancy


a Pawnee girl taken by Osage and escaped from them lived with the

buffalo where she learned

They have plays for winter evenings before the stars began to tell their


I drank their milk because there was nothing else.

In their plays, they were a ship surrounded by the sea.

They tried to read as the ship’s library rolled. A table moving over

moving waves.

I was away from the tribe and the tribe that had taken me.

How the ghosts of the sea were ships.

They told these stories. The stars told? Yes yes.

The buffalo talked to one another. The way stars saw the ships that lifted

their sails and passed through the night.

The buffalo grunted and snored as they slept. The sails came closer.

The library on board opened its pages. We would learn what they were.

What they said. What they meant.

I slept with the buffalo. Their breath was a cave where I hid.

I listened to their plays.

It would not be what I would have guessed. Even the buffalo did not

know. But something was there. Already their foot on the shore.

It would be different than we guessed.

It would drive into us. Like a prairie blizzard. Fierce and pushing what

was in its way.

Often as a girl my deer-skin dress on backward my moccasins on the

wrong feet.

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DIANE GLANCY is professor emerita at Macalester College. Currently, she teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Carlow University in Pittsburgh. Her latest poetry books are "It Was Over There by That Place," the Atlas Chapbook Series, and "The Book of Bearings," Wipf & Stock. Other books published by Wipf & Stock: "Mary Queen of Bees" (novella), "The Servitude of Love" (stories) and "The Collector of Bodies, Concern for Syria and the Middle East" (poetry). Her awards and other books are on her website