Wild Bill Hickok with failing sight
Grips the cards held in his hand
Ghostly faces gather round
The door behind him opens wide.
Panicking cavalrymen, unhorsed,
Scramble towards a grassy ditch
The condemned Indians make the kill.
A straight hard highway stems the land
Flat fields of wheat that wave and brush
The memories down to subsoil worms.
Wild Bill Hickok was famously shot in the back while sitting with his back to the door playing cards: he normally avoided this position, but had found the other seats occupied. His sight was failing badly and some time earlier he had shot a fellow lawman by mistake.
Fairly recent archaological excavations at the Little Big Horn confirm Indian accounts, discounted at the time, that the last cavalrymen had broken and run into a long, shallow depression on the battlefield in a desperate and unsuccessful attempt to escape the Indians. The battle changed little, of course, beyind the lives lost, and history moved on to Wounded Knee.