Joseph Bruchac III
Beyond the red brick of Ellis Island 2
where the two Slovak children
who became my grandparents
waited the long days of quarantine,
after leaving the sickness,
the old Empires of Europe,
a Circle Line 3 ship slips easily
on its way to the island
of the tall women, green 4
as dreams of forests and meadows
waiting for those who'd worked
a thousand years
yet never owned their own.
Like millions of others,
I too come to this island,
nine decades the answer
Yet only one part of my blood loves
Another voice speaks
of native lands
within this nation.
when the earth became owned.
those who followed
the changing Moon,
Knowledge of the seasons
in their veins.
EUROPE AND AMERICA
My father brought the emigrant bundle
of desperation and worn threads,
that in anxiety as he stumbles
tumble out distractedly;
while I am bedded upon soft green money
that grows like grass. Thus,
between my father who lives on a bed of anguish
for his daily bread, and I who tear money
at leisure by roots,
where I lie in sun or shade,
a vast continent of breezes, storm to him,
shadows, darkness to him, small lakes,
difficult channels to him, and hills,
mountains to him, lie between us.
My father comes of a hell
where bread and men have been kneaded
and baked together. You have heard the scream
as knife fell; while I have slept
as guns pounded on the shore.