November 25, 2015


by Jon Loomis

Tonight we celebrate the Great Mistake of the Wampanoag,
who should have gutted the Puritan freaks or let them starve,

not that killing would have stopped the invasion or even
slowed it down, much—ship after reeking ship, crammed

with smug entrepreneurs, their smallpox, their stern
and stingy God. There are times when the future lies open

before us, plain as a roadmap: this is what’s next,
and then this. It wasn’t one of those times.

Which of the Wampanoag farmers could have imagined
extinction? The swift and total erasure of all that they knew?

Tonight, the table set, crystal gleam and china gleam,
the candles’ wavering light. Wine glasses full, the turkey

crouched and steaming on its platter, around the table we go:
we’re thankful, we say, for these beautiful children,

this glorious feast that took all day to prepare,
for Grandma’s good health, for good friends

and warm houses. “For the dog,” Ava says, and we laugh.
And when it’s my turn, I say, “Everything—

all—I’m greatful for all that I love.” We eat then, and nobody
mentions the shadow. I’m grateful for this, too—the mercy

of doomed tribes, of blind hope. How we still sit down
to a good meal, disaster’s white sails just past the horizon.

November 14, 2015

What They Did Yesterday Afternoon

by Warsan Shire

they set my aunts house on fire
i cried the way women on tv do
folding at the middle
like a five pound note.
i called the boy who used to love me
tried to ‘okay’ my voice
i said hello
he said warsan, what’s wrong, what’s happened?

i’ve been praying,
and these are what my prayers look like;
dear god
i come from two countries
one is thirsty
the other is on fire
both need water.

later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?

it answered