Tillamook Campfire Tale

Once there was an old woman
named Xi'lgo. She had no husband

and said I will nab some
. She sat near

Crystal Lake, where she knew
children bathed in the nude.

She placed four in a basket
but a boy named Taxuxca

scratched a hole in the bottom
of the basket with a harpoon.

Taxuxca lept
into the lake

where he has lived
since the escape.

Where is the boy
Where is the boy

Xi'lgo asked the others
but they refused to say

so she drowned one
while she repeated

Where is the boy
Where is the boy

but they refused to reply
so she took a long knife

and pulled her gray hair
over her face and emptied

another girl's fresh
blood and tissue.

Where is the boy
Where is the boy

A blue jay swooped
down and told the final

girl to kill Xi'lgo
you must slice

off her head
since that's where

her heart lives.
The blue jay

tossed her a long
knife with his beak

and Xi'lgo's head
and torso slid

apart into the lake
after a clean swipe

of the blue jay blade.
The girl searched

for Taxuxca
in a new canoe

adorned with Xi'lgo's
dentalium choker.

Bubbles plopped
to the surface

Where is the boy
Where is the boy

JEFFREY H. MACLACHLAN also has recent work in Landlocked, Stonecoast Review, Swamp Ape Review, among others. He is a Senior Lecturer of literature at Georgia College & State University.