Geronimo’s Boots Leave Town
An Argument for NAGPRA
Buyer Beware at Southeby’s
I heard Geronimo’s boots left town
and his wife’s and daughter’s boots
went with them—a family of shoes.
They had lived silently in an artist’s
basement collection for years
safe, except for one flood.
Now they are for sale. The label says
“Geronimo bought cowboy boots
and threw away these moccasins.
They are fringed deer skin, knee-high.
Chiricahua. 1886.” In this leather
that Trickster made stories:
The time he cut off one wife’s nose
for fooling around
The time he slipped off a mountain
when surrounded by the army
The time he shapeshifted
in a photographer’s studio.
He knew medicine that made him
invisible but just when they thought
he was finally gone he returned,
calm within a watermelon garden.
For his final trick he pretended
to lose his mind, the price
for all that power but instead
he was practicing how to stay alive
in all kinds of skins, first buckskin
and now—domesticated cowhide.