You always told us that you didn't go to war to kill anybody, and you didn't, but you did spend six days body-bagging enemy soldiers after a US bombing run along a 14-mile stretch of desert highway. You said you put hundreds of body parts into bags. You said you filled one bag with amputated feet. Just feet.
You were a white boy who grew up on our reservation, and we loved you so much that we called you Indian. You sang at the drum with us and grew your blond hair long like ours, but you didn't braid it because you said that would be disrespectful to the tribe.
We sent you off to war like a hero, and you came back eggshell-cracked and soul-immolated.
At your welcome-home party, you dragged Little Junior into the trees and punched his forehead skin off the bone. Then you tried to rape Plum Tree in the back bedroom. Her screams saved her. It took six of us to drag you away.
We all loved Plum Tree (she was a shawl dancer), and we adored Little Junior (who was an autistic dreamer long before we knew about autism), so we kicked you off the reservation. We banished you, unofficially at first, and then the tribal council made it law.
You left the reservation as an Indian-by-osmosis and came back as a crazy white man warrior, and we Indian boys, who loved to call ourselves warriors but never went to war, wiped away our imaginary war paint and invented drum songs about peace.
And then we sang death songs when we heard you jumped off the Maple Street Bridge. We pretended that you turned into a hawk halfway through your descent and flew away instead of crashing onto the rocks below.
We sang Fly, Eddie, Fly, Way Ya Hi Yo, Fall In Love With The Sky, The Sky, Way Ya Way, Sky, Sky, Sky.