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This Is Not My America

THIS IS NOT MY AMERICA 

 

I.

I knew I shouldn’t make this trip

My mother-in- law 90 years old 

her soul a cold moon

Domine, non sum dignus

“Lord I am not worthy”

Her son in my arms each night

tattooed by these words

The damage we do to each other

 

In the airport two young women read “Us” magazine

Hang on every word as if it were Plato 

I turn to

Malcolm

Burroughs

Ginsburg

 

I’m tired  alone

Without words or friends

No matter how many pages I fill

I’m a blank page

Had no idea the world was in such fervor

a state of emergency no one can report

 

II.

Homes  casinos  saloons  resorts on burial sites 

middens  thousand-year-old vanished Paiute settlements  

Billboards  RV’s  “Land For Sale”  scorched land

of broken rivers  pottery shards  arrowheads  grief  

Hundred-year-old mines deface earth   

 

Can I get this America out of my mind?

Will I have recurring nightmares

a coyote in a steel jaw trap    

 

III.

Ghosts of murdered Indians

roll across U.S. 93 like tumbleweed

Trails no longer seen

Agave  date palm  Joshua tree

Smoke signals carried on bird wings

 

 

 

Washoe  Shoshone  Paiute  shadows in valleys and plateaus   

among mountains  mesas fallen from sky 

Unmarked  unnoticed  

Wovoka  Numaga  Winnemucca  Wahveheh

 

The world makes noises ghosts can hear

 

 

                                                                                   Pamela Stone Singer

                                                                                   February 2012