From the Heartland to the wild-again west
ex-Grangers resurrect icons of ire.
They set Billy Bryan's Cross of Gold on fire
and take up the mantle of Dixie's defeat,
cloaking themselves in torn, bride-white sheets.
The Klan rules Indiana. The best
Hoover's and FDR's G-men can do
is push a statute (mere words) through Congress
and inspect a lynching or two.
Kansas was thought safe, locals' hostility less
than in other places, so Bill Henderson
had come alone, left his partner
clipping articles in Kansas City.
Cooper is the best researcher
in the Bureau, and with Bill's fancy
footwork they make quite a team.
Bill wishes his partner had come with him.
Coop would find running from horses a scream.
Don't panic. Thinking, 'These hick coteries vary,'
he rounds a corner to catch his breath,
wondering which deal fear and which death.
A melee yet scary, they pass his perch,
carrying on with their wearisome search.
Bill leaps from the doorway into the street,
makes for his car but falls off his feet,
landing just out of reach of the running board,
his cry for aid an alert to the horde
which turns, bears down, gritting under each hood.
Henderson's ankle is broken. "No good
citizens in earshot," guesses he
as the posse looms, their weaponry
poised for polo with his head.
"Dear me," he says, "I'm dead."
But, no doom: A bright blue streak
lifts him, leaving his hat to the hooves.
The mock Rangers draw rein, confused,
in shock. Ross declares victory
and they break up, adrenaline
waning into shame. Henderson
passes out as, way up high,
he is carried to safety by
a lad with a colorful name.