Healing Gila

for The People

Tony Santiago

The people don’t mention it much.
It goes without saying,
it stays without saying—

that concentration camp
on their reservation.

And they avoid that massive site
as they avoid contamination—

that massive void
punctuated by crusted nails,
punctured pipes, crumbled
failings of foundations . . .

What else is there to say?

This was a lush land once,
graced by a gifted people
gifted with the wisdom
of rivers, seasons, irrigation.

The waters went flowing
through a network of canals
in the delicate workings
of balances and health . . .

What else is there to say?

Then came the nation.
Then came the death.

Then came the desert.
Then came the camp.

But the desert is not deserted.
It goes without saying,
it stays without saying—

wind, spirits, tumbleweeds, pain.

Comments

2 comments have been posted.

Thank you Prof. Inada. The word-smithing craft profound, Weaving time, lives, natural and unnatural Bowing with the wind of the words.

Katrina Son | January 2023 | Newport Oregon

This haunting poem left me breathless. Thank you.

Lina White | January 2023 | Eugene

Add a Comment

Related Stories

Also in this Issue

From the Director: Grounding

Editor's Note: Underground

Healing Gila

“My Heart Belongs Where the Trees Are”

The Toxins Beneath Us

“We Are the Original Conservationists”

Purple Prairie

Long Live the Kings

Stretching Toward the Sun

Posts

People, Places, Things: Xmaash Tamaycht

Discussion Questions and Further Reading: Underground