Native, by Keetje Kuipers

It’s true…nothing is untouched anymore…how do we define native? Wild?



In the spring the men come out again to clear

the land, yellow Cat dozers popping up on hillsides

like morels to be collected after the first warm days

of May. In fields studded with the rhinestone glitter

of purple knapweed, trucks nose aside whatever lingers

too long in the path: stones laid down by a glacier’s

swollen body, a rain-washed pair of child’s underwear,

white-spangled fawn fresh from the belly of before-this-world.

Untouched? No such thing. Scoured clean and dirtied up again, laid

to rest only to have the soil peeled back from the jaw bone.

What hasn’t been repopulated by trespassers, colonized

from the inside out? No wonder my body wants to do

the work it was always meant to, spiraling deep within itself

to make from this wildness something that belongs here.



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