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Monday, March 15, 2010


(A. M. A. 1945 – 1975)

by  Darla Biel

                                                “But what is denied actually does exist
                                                 And eventually comes to the surface.”
–Joy Harjo

Anna Mae Aquash, thirty, a Mi’kmag,
shot in the back of the head off State 73
outside Kadoka, South Dakota. A doctor unwrapped
your frozen body ten days after did not report
your wounded head or your ten missing teeth.
He said “death by exposure” and cut off your hands
to send for fingerprints. They dug a pauper’s grave
and buried you as a Jane Doe.
Eight days later, they brought you into the light
again and uncovered a .32 caliber bullet from your skull.
The one accused of shooting you
as you knelt to pray is thanking God today.
The federal charges have been dropped.
Annie Mae, if he's the one I pray that now you haunt him--
     his rape of you, your hair around his fist,
     the pleading in your voice never lets him rest.

Darla Biel is a poet who teaches at South Dakota State University and enjoys cross-artistic collaboration.  She was recently commissioned by Heartland Opera Troupe to write a libretto based on "The Trickster and the Troll" by Virginia Driving-Hawk Sneve and is completing a poetry manuscript titled "Sparkler Bomb."