Green Hills Literary Lantern

Waiting for Squanto

 

 

 

 

 

Other less fortunate boys and girls

had scratched the bare ground of Plymouth

and dug their own graves. We were lucky

first-graders being brainwashed about history

and nutrition and mortality, told

our modern souls were free to worship

because of buckled booted black and white

forebears. I didn’t have a soul

like my classmates, and my heart was bare

as the black trees outside our November windows.

It was a good story, even the part about squash,

and we could use all our crayons for the turkey.

Staying in the lines, it was hard to imagine

such a radical act of sharing:

that a forest larger than any park

could split before the second wave of starvation

to reveal a handsome English-speaking Patuxet

with horticulture and seed corn.

The right guy at the right time, smiling.

What I would spend a lifetime

scouting behind trees for as I grew up

with nothing to offer, no red beads

to trade for a better life, hoping

one day I’d look up to see a savage

step forward, his hands brimming with answers.

 

 

Joanne Lowery’s poems have appeared in many literary magazines, including Birmingham Poetry Review, 5 AM, Passages North, Atlanta Review, One Trick Pony, and Poetry East. Her chapbook Diorama was the winner of the Poems & Plays 2006 Tennessee Chapbook Prize. She lives in Michigan.