The Iowa Review

The Iron-plated Wolverine’s Ledger



Before plodding further into Kisko Creek on the belted wheels of a salvaged military vehicle, Edgar surmised through

Sidewinder spyglasses that large meadows of dry weeds had been flattened by snow, making views intensely “spectral.”

In the outlying distance, however, swarms of indecisive birds dove into the bluish gray horizon, lacing the after flash of their flight with the mole-enriched soil as protection. In an effort to thwart adversity, seen or unseen, the

Earth Lodge Tribunal had decreed all whirlwinds be scented with ancient pyrotechni­cs before journeying through the haze of aluminum prairies.


A myth-infused query soon resulted: did a violent struggle ensue here? Bamboo tubes had splintered explosivel­y over the sand, imprinting shadows of witnesses in shards of molten glass. Minus crime scene tape, there were signs this conspiracy had supernatur­al origins. And upon the Lessername­d Hills, Exhibit A, your Honors, he’d argue effusively, are petroglyph­s of diving falcons on the walls of caves near the East and West Rivers. And depicted as prophecy, within that moment, are microburst­s of obsidian towering above green, fiery clouds.


While spring thaw, at times, looked harmless, he knew its history was capacious as lightning. Without question, due to unfulfille­d parental expectatio­ns, hikes here require a lifetime or more. On gentle, hangoveris­h days, for instance, an elder, one of the last holders of archaic names of Black Eagle Child deities and their un-recordable songs, can vanish in rip currents of negligence before delivery of senior citizens lunch.


During such passages of solemnity, as Lorna Bearcap once opined in The Weeping Willow Manifesto,

“when the Tribe’s best intentions falter seemingly in perpetuum only rain can reverse the atrophy.” Thus, while the tribal community became surfeit with gratitude and wonder for having been blessed with another planting season, only the culturally learned, those who saw sails jutting from the lavender horizon, knew if spring ever went missing a ceremony would have to be created to beseech its return. They were now so close to that divine, inevitable point.

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