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Buffalo Bill’s Wild West

From: The Missouri Review
Volume 36, Number 4, 2013
pp. 51-52 | 10.1353/mis.2013.0098

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.

—William Wirt Winchester’s grave

I have knocked the impossible stiff and cold on more than one occasion. I never lost heart.

—Bufalo Bill

Easy for the living to say; easy
for the man with the gun.

The man with long ringlets
worn for the benefit of any Indian
who could take my scalp—

each curl a testament to faith
he’d never lose his head. The impossible
shot spinning, dazzling, to the ground

like coins from his daughters’ hands
(less easy for his wife
to watch her girls in his rifle’s sight:

pretty as sky—with sun-glint
clenched in their fingers). Easy to sell
this show-biz truth: a man who’d killed

4,000 buffalo one dust-skinned year;
who bullwhacked; drove a stagecoach;
won another man’s name;

who took the Russian Grand Duke hunting
with the Sioux (wagons clinking
full of caviar behind them). He sailed real Indians

in real tepees to England so the Queen
could see. Easy to amaze: these faces.
These beating hearts. Easy not to ask:

What dead must be carried inside?
Once, he said, I crippled a bear, and Mr. Bear
made for me, charging, but before he reached me,

I had eleven bullets inside him, a little more
lead than he could comfortably digest.
Easy to admire his father—a Quaker—

stabbed for preaching abolition;
his only son, dead young of scarlet fever.
To believe they weighted his heart

so he could not lose it. To need
his wild bull’s-eye faith: the point between
daughter and coin, real life and show,

where even risking everything comes easy.

Alexandra Teague  

Alexandra Teague is the author of Mortal Geography (Persea, 2010), winner of the 2009 Lexi Rudnitsky Prize and the 2010 California Book Award, and of The Wise and Foolish Builders (Persea, 2015). A previous NEA and Stegner Fellow, she is assistant professor of poetry at the University of Idaho and an editor for Broadsided Press.

Copyright © 2013 The Curators of the University of Missouri
Project MUSE® - View Citation
Alexandra Teague. "Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, and: Repeater, and: Sand Creek Testimony, and: Sarah Winchester Reads Great Expectations, and: My Mother Reads to Her Daughters: Great Expectations." The Missouri Review 36.4 (2013): 51-57. Project MUSE. Web. 22 Jul. 2014. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Teague, A.(2013). Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, and: Repeater, and: Sand Creek Testimony, and: Sarah Winchester Reads Great Expectations, and: My Mother Reads to Her Daughters: Great Expectations. The Missouri Review 36(4), 51-57. University of Missouri. Retrieved July 22, 2014, from Project MUSE database.
Alexandra Teague. "Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, and: Repeater, and: Sand Creek Testimony, and: Sarah Winchester Reads Great Expectations, and: My Mother Reads to Her Daughters: Great Expectations." The Missouri Review 36, no. 4 (2013): 51-57. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed July 22, 2014).
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T1 - Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, and: Repeater, and: Sand Creek Testimony, and: Sarah Winchester Reads Great Expectations, and: My Mother Reads to Her Daughters: Great Expectations
A1 - Teague, Alexandra
JF - The Missouri Review
VL - 36
IS - 4
SP - 51
EP - 57
PY - 2013
PB - University of Missouri
SN - 1548-9930
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/missouri_review/v036/36.4.teague.html
N1 - Volume 36, Number 4, 2013
ER -

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