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white river poems 309
about it; a ranchers' town.
It lies among the broken
plateaus that run out to those
fl at barrens of Utah, dead
as so much chemical waste
through which the Utes, who had lived
where the town is, were driven
to a new reservation.
Meeker's named after the man
they killed and mutilated;
there was no town then, only
an Indian Agency.
Meeker was the Agent there.'
`How'd you become interested
in all this?' (after a pause).
(myself to myself)
Tell them the story. -- Tell them
a story, you mean, because
that is what the story is
fi rst and always -- a story;
and then? -- And then we shall see
emerging in silhouette
the shape of the tribe, the way
hills with their prosy detail,
their houses, fences, trash, roads,
when the sun drops behind them
turn one smooth shape of darkness
against the radiance. -- Ha.
What radiance and what tribe?
-- Why, our tribe; the radiance
that comes of fi nality;
I know all this is in doubt.
Tell your story. They're waiting.