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white river poems 333
Chipeta, wife of Ouray, supplies some facts:
An early photograph
shows a level-eyed, smooth-skinned,
smooth-featured beauty.
The face is intelligent
and quite expressionless.
Newspaper feature writers
surrounded her with glamour
of the Indian princess sort,
and after her husband died
she left his farm and his house
with its brass beds and lace curtains
for a wickiup and some sheep.
For years she lived alone.
She died at eighty-one
having long since gone blind,
and was buried in a nearby gulch
where, some months afterwards,
a ranch hand hunting a stray
found her bones exposed on the sand.
No one knows what she thought.
Perhaps her intelligence
went into a resolve
not to have thoughts at all.
-- Q. How far were you from the Agency
when the massacre took place. -- A. Not knowing
the exact time of the massacre
I cannot tell you where I was.
-- Q. Tell us whatever you may know
of the cause of the massacre. -- A. I know
nothing about it. -- Q. Were you at home