Victory, WI

By Lisa Ampleman Lisa Ampleman
All hail the crumbling stone monument
to the Battle of Bad Axe, the wooden helve

long rotted and burned, the short walk to the river,
where we can bathe in its brown,

where a steamboat ghost huffs out
a stream of bullets. We are invulnerable

to their spectral lead, descendants
of fur traders (beaver, ermine,

skunk). Our lungs are clean and pink. Let’s visit
the saw shop, the greenhouse with bluff views,

the pines and stacks of firewood,
the Blackhawk general store, named for

the warrior who waved a chalky,
misunderstood flag and eluded capture

for weeks. In winter, eagles
dive here, gathering lift when the wind

hits the bluffs: all hail the migrating
raptor, its piercing talon and yellow cere.

Source: Poetry (June 2014).


This poem originally appeared in the June 2014 issue of Poetry magazine

June 2014
 Lisa  Ampleman


Lisa Ampleman is the author of Full Cry (National Federation of State Poetry Societies Press, 2013) and the chapbook I’ve Been Collecting This to Tell You (Kent State University Press, 2012).

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Poems by Lisa Ampleman

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, War & Conflict

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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