You are where you breathe most freely
more than the learned twang and tone
more than these proud vanity plates
and layers of peeling bumper stickers
more than where you work and wander
You are the mountains and hills funneling
your family branches into hollers and valleys
to bless them, squeezing your kin in a promised
hug of freedom found only in forest lands that
might conceive this most delicate of cultures
You are streams dancing down God’s voice
of deep gravity, harkened along hillside rocks
through the ground, into wells your people drank,
thriving enough to give the thought of you a chance
You are music in the space between here and the water,
evolved instruments invoked in echo from hill to valley:
fiddle, drum, bagpipe, guitar, banjo, foot on porch plank,
lone voices and choirs launched up to God’s eyes and ears
perched along the tree lines and beneath the water ripples
When did you agree to be that scalped head of Earth
stretching yonder? That flayed cultural skin abided
in such long-suffering patience by Him, the buried
stream, the frightened game, the twist of diesel fumes
over the fake stepped mesas overshadowing our sacred
mounds, the absence of life along blackening streams
and treeless ridges, ignored and forgotten by your
metal hands, threadbare limbs and empty heads
If you long to breathe freely, stand your ground
Alchemical Mountaintop Replacement
Locate God’s jealous vengeance
that rumbling beneath their feet
as they walk new creations of fresh
earth in the high voided triangles.
Scoop the stream’s silent rushing
into hole-filled, hopeful buckets.
Sprinkle in the lawmakers epiphany
of earth sin under their lobbied blindness.
Collect the fragments of voices yet driven
to action through eroded minds and wills.
Re-imagine animals wandering in search
of their grandparents’ homelands,
let them tread down darker soils among
alien grasses without the company of trees.
Now remind yourself of these things
when you divine as to which purgatory
your mountaintops now dwell.