A Poem: ‘Cicero Jack Ponders Relics of the Osage’
I’ve hunted arrowheads deep
in Ozark woods, rummaged lengths
of dry creek beds to swell my
cache of hand-chipped stone, layer
the bottom drawer of the
parlor desk with a litter
of flaked flint and chert. But now,
as a killing drought lowers
water levels, turns the rich
soils of lakes and streams, I read
of scoundrels digging bones, thieves
harvesting relics of the
long dead Osage, and I must
count myself kin to both tribes.
I have plundered precious things,
and beyond my final breath
I and mine will be plundered,
soil of my progeny turned
like the loam beneath the lake.
C. D. Albin is a native of West Plains, Missouri, and has taught for many years at Missouri State University-West Plains, where he founded Elder Mountain: A Journal of Ozarks Studies. He received the 2017 Missouri Author Award in Fiction for his short-story collection “Hard Toward Home” (Press 53, 2016). More information can be found at his personal website.