Standing Rock Thanksgiving by Michael Peck

I am not a silent poet

Smells of roasting turkey
pervades the air
people lifting glasses of wine
celebrating

No one here hears
the barking attack dogs
the observation helicopters
the cold spray of the water cannons
people screaming at standing rock
holding their hands over their eyes

We smiled at one another
making small talk
laughing at the family dog
shaking her toy growling

Our ancestors never were invited
to dinner
to build homes on Indian lands
to take property by the streams
to kill all the fur-bearing animals
and send them back to the crown
for profit

Someone hiccups and laughs
followed by another popping can of beer
while waiting for the pie to cool
enough for the ice cream

We are not those who are standing
in freezing weather
soaking wet
being pushed back
by guns and police dogs

We’re celebrating Thanksgiving
maybe unaware
that in part we are celebrating
not being them

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