with lines from Walt Whitman, Tristan Corbiere, Sterling Brown, Ernesto Cardenal, Kevin Bowen,
Czeslaw Milosz and Ray A.Young Bear
At dinner, Zach asks
about our nation's history, wars.
I say We're taking on everyone, one at a time.
First Britain, then Britain again: "He was the surly English pluck, and there is no tougher
or truer, and never was, and never will be."
Next Mexico: "Death is indifferent to what hide he tans; life crushes men like flies."
The War Between the States: "Well done, Mr. Cromartie. Time now for rest."
Most of Latin America: "Not only humans longed for liberation. All ecology groaned for it
too. The revolution is also one of lakes, rivers, trees, animals."
Then Southeast Asia: "The slight bump the mortars make as they kiss the tube goodbye.
Then the furious rain, a fist driving home the message: Boy, you don't belong here."
Now the Middle East: "A land to be admired like all lands. Harsh mountains and deserts,
indigenous plants and people, adapted ungulates, carnivorous mammals."
Can't forget the Krauts & Nips: "Then I heard the bomber call me in: Little Friend, Little
Friend, I got two engines on fire. Can you see me, Little Friend?"
Nor the Commies: "You mixed up farewell to an epoch with the beginning of a new one. I
put this book here for you, who once lived, so that you should visit us no more."
The original indigenous people say: "In time we'll become prosperous, or else we'll
become martyrs. The force that placed us here cannot be trusted."
Copyright 2013 by Robert Ronnow. Acknowledgements.