Issue Twenty-One - Winter 2013

Poem for Ishi

By Scott T. Starbuck

Imagine being the last survivor
of the United States of America,

your people bounty-hunted
by invaders from across the sea

at 25 cents a scalp
and five dollars a head,

you, hiding in a barn, hungry,
thinking of your murdered father,

mother and sister’s winter supplies
taken as souvenirs by land surveyors

yet you never give up on God
or ancestral dreams,

but later, reflecting on your role
as a pneumonic museum piece

in what the Yelamu called Chutchui
before it was Berkeley, CA,

recall years before Kroeber
took you in to study,

how, as a boy
among wild poppies,

crimson was a beautiful color.

Inspired by the film
Ishi, the Last Yahi available at

Copyright Starbuck 2012