Geronimo’s Boots Leave Town
An Argument for NAGPRA
or Buyer Beware at Southeby’s
by Denise Low
I heard Geronimo’s boots left town
and his wife’s and daughter’s boots
went with them—a family of shoes.
They had lived silently in an artist’s
basement collection for years
safe, except for one flood.
Now they are for sale. The label says
“Geronimo bought cowboy boots
and threw away these moccasins.
They are fringed deer skin, knee-high.
Chiricahua. 1886.” In this leather
that Trickster made stories:
The time he cut off one wife’s nose
for fooling around
The time he slipped off a mountain
when surrounded by the army
The time he shapeshifted
in a photographer’s studio.
He knew medicine that made him
invisible but just when they thought
he was finally gone he returned,
calm within a watermelon garden.
For his final trick he pretended
to lose his mind, the price
for all that power but instead
he was practicing how to stay alive
in all kinds of skins, first buckskin
and now—domesticated cowhide.
In 2011 someone made an order, kill Geronimo;
soldiers dispatched by jet, by car, with orders to kill Geronimo.
The Brits had a new princess and Fergie’s daughters had silly hats
but the Royal wedding was eclipsed by the killing of Geronimo.
I heard about it on the radio; bin Laden’s been ratted out
living in a pleasant Pakistani suburb, KIA Geronimo.
He used his wives as shields; there is nothing about
that fact to cheer yet some did after killing Geronimo.
For tribal nations the namesake’s a hero, little doubt
occupy their minds as to the military’s code KIA Geronimo.
It’s just another cry for war without
restraint. Our hero wasn’t a terrorist, the real Geronimo
fought to protect homelands, way of life, I’d say devout,
feared perhaps but how many times should they kill Geronimo?