We Climb / by Simone Johnson

by Francisco Ferreyra

Colonization is a wrangly beast

with lumps of coal for eyes and crude oil running through its veins


He kidnaps our children

and builds skyscrapers over our most sacred sites


We resist when we can,

but his presence towers over our history

with a reach stretching across time and space


The beast itself is 1,000 feet tall,

so we make like global temperatures and climb


We climb atop metaphysical bridges

and drop banners that read



We climb and camp on the tips of trees,

obstructing the beast’s veins like a terminal case of diabetes


We climb up our ancestral mountain ranges

to weep for the past and envision our future


The beast is mighty, but we are many


He is invisible to our neighbors,

yet they protest when we battle him


and although the defiant still dance to drum beats

and harvest maíz,

some of our own cousins wear his emblem

and enact his doctrine


“The beast is far too great,” they shout

“You cannot hope to win”


But the beast is not immortal…

and we have seen him bleed