Big Holes

… on February 25, 1643, … at Communipaw [what is now Jersey City on the banks of the Upper New York Bay] … 129 Dutch soldiers killed 120 Indians, including women and children.
—“Pavonia Massacre,” Wikipedia

The Battle of the Big Hole was fought in Montana, August 9–10, 1877, between the U.S. Army and the Nez Perce tribe of Native Americans …
Between Gibbon’s position and the Nez Perce encampment, which consisted of 89 tipis in a V-shaped pattern, was the waist-deep and willow-lined North Fork of the Big Hole River. Approaching the Nez Perce encampment on foot at dawn, Gibbon’s men encountered an old Nez Perce man and killed him. The soldiers crossed the river and rushed into the village and began firing into the tipis where most of the Nez Perce were still sleeping. The Indians were taken by surprise and fled in all directions. Gibbon’s men fired indiscriminately at men, women, and children … Nez Perce … total dead probably amounted to between 70 and 90, of whom less than 33 were warriors.
—“Battle of the Big Hole,” Wikipedia

The Upper Bay in New York’s a big hole;
the Big Hole in Montana’s a vast bowl.

In both, the day fills with shadows and light;
stillness, blackness, voids, and stars fill the night.

Both are memorials to massacres,
where murdered cry out against murderers.

The cries are covered with grass and water
and Western civilization’s litter.

Memory listens; under bawling years,
under deafening dins, memory hears

the endless screaming of the innocents,
the fathomless howling holes of silence.

Torrents of tears flood New York Bay’s vast bowl;
Fields of blood ruffle Montana’s Big Hole.