Journal of Writing & Environment

after statue #1, “The Scarfaced Indian”



These sun-bleached gods could be a kind

of anthem: stray dogs swimming

under sail-torn skies. The swallowing fall

of an empire. All in sea-speak.


The good sailor hopes desperately against it.

Against all. A boy wakes pockets filled

with frayed rope, a stone nose, a handful

of strayed-hair prophecies: America.


Wooden box god hallucinating flames.

Earth splitting signatures. On walls

the larger bruise, the dead paint of natives,

nations of disintegrations.


Nation of cane-struck faces, we are sorry

on the bridge beneath a tent of dark ladders.

Effigies of grain, you are awash in lost waves,

in storm drains and bottoms of ditches.


Would you leave behind an unlocked house?

Owls in the dark, fleeing heart stopped

and shifting, the Westernmost ship

with the sun in its mouth nearly drowned.