Caught on razor’s edge of my life
I was born on ‘Algonquian’ land in a white man’s Chicago hospital
three hundred years after European ancestors began pirating
I chose a beautiful boarding school built
on The land where Great Spirit dwells in “Mesquakie’s” story
set at the foot of the prehistoric ‘Mound’, built
by pre-history ‘Mound Builders’ before the birth of land titles
no one should claim to own,
but we never speak of that.
Much like early pioneers running for freedom to California
I finally fled the noise of urban chaos, arriving on land cared for
by the “Miwok”, a whole people nearly erased by settlers.
It was nature choked by asphalt and lies that didn’t speak
the language of the land, won from Mexico, who could
no longer fight the hunger for the gold and green and ocean
that no one should dare to say is theirs,
but we never put that in our history books.
Now I live on land taken by Mexico from ‘Seri’ and ‘Yaqui’ peoples,
each day I sit at the foot of their sacred mountain
where once their warriors rebuilt their strength and courage
to fight another battle for their homeland from our European ancestors,
only to be run off centuries later by Mexican powers, with plans to develop
and rename as tourist attractions stolen land and sea
that only fools would say they own,
but those histories are not written on the legal papers.
How can I be grateful and ashamed at the same time?
How can I live in this house built with Mexican sweat and cement?
How can I speak without shame as I turn to the ancestors to say
On this Thanksgiving Day I give thanks for all the riches my people took?
And yet, my gratitude for this place lives and pumps in my blood,
sings in the array of flavors that feed my body and my poems.
I wear the shame for my people who keep taking other people’s land,
that no one has the right to own,
when will we white victors concede the deep and shameful truths?
Sharon Lopez Mooney, "Caught on razon’s edge of my life", from Ginosko Literary Journal, Issue #26, Ed. Robert Paul Cesaretti, Fairfax, CA, Spring 2021, print and online: http://ginoskoliteraryjournal.com/images/ginosko26.pdf