Every day is a land day somewhere. People land upon each other, steal the way the light fell through particular trees that are gone, tear up villages and gardens as if they were weeds, weed out particular people who are gone from land that no longer holds the way their laughter drifted through open doors along with the smells of their cooking. We land and are landed upon, so what
does the windblown milkweed seed say to the field’s edge, already filled with fireflies and sassafras, what does the tulipán say shouldering in among roble blanco, capá prieto? We choose, we
settlers in the grass, we un-native to these fields, these felled woods, these cane fields and cafetales, these houses built over graves, we get to decide, we do not have to be invasive
maybe the milkweed rests lightly among the cattails listening to the night
listening to how each part sings, how the birches and the earthworms are speaking, we could be like that, we could
listen, all our lives
be like the common plantain, low to the ground, rooting only where there is room between the conversations of moss and stars,
join, not destroy, the ecosystems join, not erase, the whole story
listen to the particular crimes committed. lean into their cold truth, say yes this happened. taste the ash of it, without turning away, without lying about any of it, yes we could
shred the deeds to these houses built over graves these manicured, gated fictions about who has the right to what, and tell
on ourselves, tell how our family photographs, people with our noses, eyes, hair fleeing hunger, war, pogroms, therefore always one foot out the door, tried to buy belonging, force other people’s land to be home.
we could stay, both feet here we could change ourselves, not the stolen land. become something else.
not, no matter how long we stay, not native, we could just root where we are, in the crux of history in the truth of it all
not so the land will belong to us
it can never it is full of other people’s stories we do not need to own their losses or the way the light fell, we do not need to rename everything after ourselves, piña is not an apple, we lost the apples we came across water in leaky boats, we miss a different light
but so that we can
not clearcut history, not plow the wildflowers of the prairie into acreage, but lie down in it and be stained, overgrown, we could adapt, cross-pollinate, become naturalized, become common, be low to the ground, rest lightly honor the people, still here, long before us
belong to the land.
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