Another Because Poem

byEdgar Gabriel Silex
because the baby would not stop crying
and their methadone had just kicked in
and they couldn't wait to lick
each other's prison tattoos
she and her lover quieted the baby forever
with a sip of methadone

because the Navajo did not have enough money to pay
and the white cashier chose to return the Wild Turkey
in defiance he left the milk and eggs
and took the hot dogs the bread and the Wild Turkey
with the two Dreamsicles and the two Milky Ways
that brought large smiles to his kids

because a Mexican who did not know
if he was Mixteca or Azteca
stopped me in a boondock town in Nebraska
on a winter day without a coat
and asked if I spoke spanish
if I knew where he could work for food
or if I knew where those train tracks went

because history disappears too quickly
and if what happened to Mangas Coloradas
to Moctezuma     Geronimo in the circus
to Kintpuash or to Spotted Elk
lying frozen in the snow beside his wife and children
in the blessed ground of Wounded Knee
if those things disappear too quickly
then who will remember what a swastika means

because 500 years have passed
and the end is still ending
in the Guatrmalan and Peruvian countrysides
riddled with Indian corpses

because culture is not something we pass on
but something we chose to live within
the day will come when my son will have to choose
to love or hate the color of his father's skin
because Ishi was not the last of the last
as he was never the first of the last

because our erasers are needles
and glue and spray paint
or else our memories of defiance

because I have two sisters
being erased by the words and fists of men

because I had two brothers
who erased themselves

because last night when the stars seemed so beautiful
I dreamed of my death.

From Through All the Displacements by Edgar Gabriel Silex,
Curbstone Press. © 1995 Edgar Gabriel Silex

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