Apology to the Bison – A Poem by Linda Imbler

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Submitted by Linda Imbler

When I first saw that huge, live bison,
when I first ran my hands
over that rough, woolly pate like Brillo
as I sat upon the tall fence rail,
experiencing his strong, hot breath on my side
while he pressed his shaggy head against the fence,
I stroked his rib cage and heard his inhalation.

I felt the immense power, the massive shoulders,
of this creature of estimable magnificence,
this symbol of the west,
demonized or romanticized
by all who traveled across the western prairies
in the olden days of expansion.

What went through my head
in these glorious minutes –
a long dead ancestor watching a three-day parade
of bison across the front yard of his farm,
only about ten miles from where I now reside.

And during all the time of this remembrance,
I was afraid to look him in the eye.
Afraid he would see, in my eyes,
what my kind had, once upon a time, wrought on his.


About the Poet

Linda Imbler has three published poetry collections. Her newest e-book “Pairings” is due out soon.  She is a Kansas-based Pushcart Prize nominee and is twice nominated for Best of the Net. Linda’s poetry and a listing of publications can be found here.

Painting: Charles M. Russell – The Bison Trail

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