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

“NONE SHALL PASS,” and “DEFEND WHAT YOU LOVE”

 

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