house built on sand

posted in: Poem | 0

“You have to understand that white people invented irony.”
–Sherman Alexie from “The American Artificial Limb Company”

 

i love my husband who loves trains
and so part of me loves trains,
even knowing how trains
brought settlers west
to scatter tribes, then round them
like cattle onto reservations
that shrunk and shrunk
as whites grew
hungrier, how buffalo were shot
from those trains, then left to die
to starve the indians
whose lives depended on them.

in america, there is no love
without irony.  the innocence
of the blonde, curly-haired child
smiling from the sunbeam wrapper
is a lie we’ve told ourselves
to survive.

sometimes flicking on the light,
i try to be mindful that my bursts
of vision flare from the deaths
of billions of salmon, trainwrecked by dams
all across the nation,
that i am part of the reason
grief splays the lives
tied to those salmon.

still, sitting in my house
on the west coast, typing
in artificial light,
i can’t help but love my life.

 

“house built on sand” was first published in Knock Journal.

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