To Tatanka Iyotake (first letter)

Dear Sir,
The shots that killed you upset your horse.  It seemed to Ghost Dance. A lot of your people joined in, hoping the earth would finally swallow up the whites forever.
I think there’s an inevitable chasm in translation — a humorless impasse.
Do you remember cursing Wild Bill’s applauding audience¬†under your breath?
I imagine General Custer trying to utter your name through the blood in his mouth, your existence as incomprehensible to him as his own defeat: “Sitting Bull….”
This strange tongue from across the ocean will never get it right. It never wanted to.