Cherokee Removal, 1838 (iii)

u-ne-ga, the color of chickweed wilting in the corner of the stockade where he spreads pallets for
his children
and the box of sand he wrote in at the mission school / words he made and unmade with the
sweep of his hand
of fat meat and water gruel that his wife prepares
and dozing in the corner / his children waiting for what they do not know
of peace they make or some mimicry
the peeled elderberry twig his daughter holds after the rain drenches, fevers
and her name written in wet earth that loosens to a flow of mud

William Woolfitt is the author of two books of poetry, Beauty Strip (Texas Review Press, 2014) and Charles of the Desert (Paraclete Press, forthcoming). He has received a Howard Nemerov Scholarship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. His poems and stories have appeared in Shenandoah, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Threepenny Review, Appalachian Heritage, Tin House online, Notre Dame Review, New Ohio Review, The Cincinnati Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere.