Monday, November 23, 2015


“And all we had to do was take these hides from their wearers.
It was a harvest. We were the harvesters.”
– Frank H. Mayer
The Buffalo Harvest
You will need:
a soft cloth
linseed oil
car wax
an air canister.
You will need buffalo horns.

Buffalo were shot
for sport, men hanging
out train car windows.
A Kiowa woman remembered
a pile of bones as tall as a man
and a mile long, ready
to ship to eastern markets.
They say the buffalo used
to block the tracks
a thousand strong. That once
an impatient conductor
fired at a herd. They stampeded,
derailed his train.
So, wipe the horns of dust
and debris. Apply linseed oil.
Let it soak. Apply car wax
with your fingertips
in a circular motion.
Finish by dusting
with compressed air.

Lindsay Tigue is the author of System of Ghosts, winner of the 2015 Iowa Poetry Prize and forthcoming from the University of Iowa Press in April 2016. Her writing appears in Blackbird, Cutbank, LIT, and The Pinch, among other journals. She is a graduate of the MFA program in Creative Writing and Environment at Iowa State University and is a current PhD student in Creative Writing at the University of Georgia in Athens.