~ after John Gast, 1872 Progress carries a School Book in one hand; and with the other, lets out lengths of telegraph wire that magically scallop themselves on poles as she goes. Out east, ports and cities have already opened. A commerce of ships enters the channel, preparing to anchor at the docks. Perhaps they've brought back pepper, coffee, tea; porcelain, gum copal, gunpowder—the same boats that used to carry mostly slaves. Textiles, yards of airy silks that go into garments such as the one she wears: an artful toga, its milky one-shoulder drape falling short of dishabille; its three- button hitch atop a leggy side slit. She sports no jewelry except the Star of Empire above her brow. Look at her fixed, impassive smile. Given her size, which is monstrous (at least five times the height of the men in the foreground, one of them loosely clutching a rifle), the bison are fleeing; unhomed, the natives are pushed closer to the margins. Everywhere this unnatural light approaches, the earth furrows beneath a blade. Deer panic. Yoked oxen bend under the whip. Wild dogs nose at the bones of the slaughtered, whitening to oblivion in the ancestral fields.