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That there were people.

That they carved life out

of other people and woods.


That we are their successors.

That ideas and towns were bent

together like hot ingots


rolled out and hammered hard.

That not just blood

but a sea of bent backs


made them our testators

and us their spoor

in our vast land


now fenced in, no less lost,

no less hopeful.

That we are the offspring


of savage nobles and sweet souls.

That we pray, or something like it,

then grope toward what works.


We seekers, so often we long

to breathe the thin air

of unfear and allshare.



—first published in Still: The Journal (Winner  of the 2017 Poetry Prize)