Columbia

Lisa Fryett

An ekphrastic poem referencing the painting American Progress by
John Gast, which observes Coloumbia; a symbol of Manifest Destiny
and a historical personification of the United States of America.

Oh Columbia,
you seductress,
who is your god
of destiny?

Tribes fleeing, not fighting?
Bison running, not rotting?
You don’t even spare
the snow.

What knowledge so great
what god so grand
as to worship destruction
as Master’s grand plan,

does your Jesus permit
the mass graves you omit
so your spirit
rests well in the night?

Build your trains
and plow the fields
and pray in churches grand –

but remember this
your soul’s dark abyss,
is a tombstone
on Indian land.

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