In a house buttressed by books and slanted morning light
slicing across the grain of the kitchen table, Lieutenant Colonel
George Armstrong Custer's 1876 orders to pursue the Sioux,
Cheyenne, Sans Arcs, Blackfeet, sits beside an emptied bowl
of Grape Nuts. The document is randomly punctuated with crumbs
from half-burnt toast, difficult to read the general's elegantly looping
Nineteenth Century signature and the limits of force given Custer's command.
My wife has printed over in her typewriter-meticulous style a grocery list
of olive oil, cilantro, garlic, tortellini, supplies for this evening's company,
but not the 7th Cavalry last seen surrounded near the banks of the Little Big Horn.
There's also a lengthy paragraph to herself, notes on rehabbing
the upstairs bathroom and the rest of her destiny. She's scribbled
calculations, an attempt at reviving a diminishing bank account,
and an addendum to the Christmas card list, and it's only February.
This morning my wife sits down to rewrite Custer's orders to pursue the Sioux.