When a civilization collapses,
it does not evaporate and vanish
but instead dissolves more or less slowly,
stains the earth and soil,
tints the waters for an age
or two after it appears to be gone.
What colors do you see
under your feet? What is the tint
of what is in your glass? More to the point:
when you make a land
acknowledgment, open your mouths
to say “Today we stand on the land
of the Nipmuk, the Mskogee,
the Lakota,” do you think of this
in terms of what you can see and taste
right now, or is it more akin
to describing long-extinct
fauna and flora? Do you even look
at where you are
before you speak?
We are dying to know.