Buffalo Nickel



On the reverse: the bison’s a resolute
survivor of trainloads of riflemen
who littered the land with carcasses.

On the obverse: the Indian head depicts
a race that denied private property,
wasted nothing, revered every creature
as part of nature’s divine plan.

The date is worn by countless hands,
like that on a slump-shouldered stone
of stoic granite eroded by tears.

My date and profile are worn, irrelevant.
Heads or tails reflects the equal chance
of an unpredictable result – a random,
meaningless event of purposeless fate.





David Olsen
Illustration Rupert Loydell




A poet, playwright, and fiction writer with a BA in chemistry from University of California-Berkeley and an MA in English and creative writing from San Francisco State University, I was formerly an energy economist, management consultant, and performing arts critic. I’ve lived in Oxford since 2002.



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